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THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



THE BOLSHEVIK 
ADVENTURE 



BY 



JOHN POLLOCK 

Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. 
Author of ''^ War and Revolufion in Russia Sr'c 



LONDON 
CONSTABLE AND COMPANY LIMITED 

1919 



yjUOM'b PoCCilO He UOHHTb, 
ApmUHOML oSmilML He HSMljp.HTb, 

y Hell ocoCQRuenL craTt — 

Bt PocciK) Moatuo TOJBKO BipHTb. 

^>. II. TlOTIBBt. 

** Russia cannot be understood by reason. 
Apply the common rule to her — 'tis treason: 
Her stature is her own," the poet saith; 

"Russia can but be understood by faith." 

F. Tyutchbv 



Groat Russia was, is, and will be. Whosoever 
is allied with Russia, his will be World Victory. 

General Oleg Vassilkovsky 



426612 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/bolshevikadventuOOpollrich 



O.RiG/NAL TO BE 
MOV 08 199^£M/NEO 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTORY LETTER ix 

CHAPTER 1 

DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS ! . . . . . 25 

CHAPTER IT 

CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS . . ... 35 

CHAPTER III 

BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 55 

CHAPTER IV 

RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 82 

CHAPTER V 

COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 100 

CHAPTER VI 

HUNGRY PETROGRAD 156 

vii 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VII 

A PRODUCER m BOLSHEVTSIA 195 



CHAPTER VIII 

MY LAST JOURNEY 205 

CHAPTER IX 

MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 237 

INDEX 277 



Yiti 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

To Major Robert M. Johnston, of the General Staff 
of the American Expeditionary Forces, 

My dear Johnston, 

This book deals with Bolsheviks' deeds, not their 
words. 

You will remember how Andrew Lang once 
wrote to Stevenson : 

Dear Louis of the awful cheek, 
Who gave you leave that you might speak, 
While all the world might smile and stare, 
Of other fellows' brindled hair ? 

I do not indeed propose to imitate the novelist's 
freedom in revealing his friends to the world ; never- 
theless, I feel that a word of apology is due for my 
present public intrusion upon you. Your uncle. 
General Albert Sydney Johnston, who was killed too 
soon for the Confederate side during the American 
Civil War, was one of Lee's most highly-prized lieu- 
tenants, and as, in the opinion of some good judges, 
Robert Lee gave proof of the most brilliant military 
genius recorded in history, his opinion on this subject 

ix 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



would be hard to question. It was therefore natural 
that your bent should be for military history. Your 
mind, trained to the bird's-eye view, and free from the 
blinkers often imposed on those who only know their 
own country, has been occupied during the war with 
the fruitful consideration of strategy in practice, and if 
I address you now it is because at a distance I have 
tried to apply to the solution of some problems of the 
war the principles your teaching by the spoken and 
the written word has often made clear to me. 

I went to Russia in March, 1915, to do relief work 
among refugees from the area of the war and returned 
last Thursday. In the interval I saw something of 
the front, much of the revolution, and more of the 
Bolshevik regime than was given to most Englishmen 
to see. I was in Petrograd during both the revolu- 
tions, in Voronesh when that town was taken by a 
band of Bolshevik ruffians fleeing from the Harkov 
front, in Moscow at the time of the attempt on Lenin's 
life, and in Saratov during Trotsky's visit there prior 
to the taking of Samara. Not being an official per- 
sonage, and compelled during the last six months to 
live under a disguise, I was able to travel about the 
country with some freedom and to watch events from 
an independent angle. So lately as January last I 
travelled from Petrograd to Saratov, and it was on 
my return thence that I was denounced and narrowly 
escaped coming to a premature end in the capital. 
When I went to Russia I did not speak Russian, and 

X 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

my ideas about the country were drawn from books 
and acquaintances. Russia, however, is so different 
from other European countries that these are by no 
means safe guides, especially as one seldom hits on 
the most illuminating book beforehand. Judging 
from my experience, if I were asked to recommend the 
best single book from which a preliminary idea of 
Russia and Russian character might be acquired, I 
should name Colonel Burnaby's Ride to Khiva. As 
it was, my ideas were vague and merely enthu- 
siastic. I took the legend of " the Russian steam- 
roller " at its face value, and, when this legend was 
shattered by the German offensive in Galicia and the 
way in which Russian fortresses fell like ninepins 
toppling over, it became a matter of absorbing interest 
to disentangle causes from their maze of effects and 
by piecing together international " more complete " 
reports to fit Russia into a real and not a fanciful 
'* future " map of the war. Strategy in Russia turned 
out to be politics, and politics to be war. To take an 
instance, General Brusilov has related that he kept 
the date fixed for his offensive of 1916 a secret even 
from General Headquarters, for fear that it would be 
betrayed to the enemy. What staff work could be 
expected in an army where recourse was had to such 
methods ? It was, I believe, the failure to apprehend 
the force of the direct action of politics on military 
affairs in Russia that vitiated the English view of the 
Russian effort, optimism and pessimism alike being at 

xi 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



different times exaggerated. We did not seem to 
learn how to pick out the guiding threads, with the 
result that we committed many blunders and much 
injustice. This, of course, entered directly into the 
German calculations. For it was not politics in the 
ordinary sense that influenced the conduct of the war, 
but the use made by Germany of political machinery 
in Russia to stultify the efforts of the Russian army 
and supplement those of her own. In this respect the 
Germans displayed a thoroughness that was truly 
admirable. They neglected no opportunity. Not 
content with manifold organisations of spies in the 
Russian army, and doubtless in every Russian 
department of State, they kept track of even the 
smallest Allied efforts in Russia, pursuing their re- 
presentatives with ingenious calumnies, sowing dis- 
cord between them, and wherever possible insinuating 
spies into their midst. Under the old rigime anti- 
Semitic sentiment was freely exploited to this end, 
and afforded traps that were rarely avoided by Britons 
who, having the best intentions, had not the know- 
ledge to enable them to analyse the complex situations 
they were confronted with. They probably did not 
realise that analysis was required or that complexity 
existed, as when Protopopov, the Minister of the 
Interior, strongly suspected of being a German traitor, 
was acclaimed from our side as " such an excellent 
fellow " and with " How lucky Russia is to get a 
Minister like him ! " Despite the advantages of our 

xii 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



patriotism and the recognition of British bulldog 
tenacity, our position was in reality weak, since much 
of our information came from sources dominated by 
hostile influence. Even so, to-day, a well-known 
statesman gets his information with regard to Russia 
from his private secretary, who gets it from a London 
M.P., who gets it from his cousin with a German 
name, who gets it from a person kept in England by 
the Bolsheviks for exactly that purpose. 

It may be imagined that if the Allied cause in Russia 
suffered from such causes under the empire, their 
potency was increased tenfold after the revolution. 
There was, for instance, a case of a young lady of 
attractive appearance and doubtful nationality who 
was a frequent visitor at an Allied institution in Petro- 
grad. Cause being found to suspect her, no better 
way was discovered of dealing with the matter than 
to obtain her employment in another branch of the 
service, where she worked for a considerable time, 
getting a salary of five hundred roubles a month and 
spending several thousand. Ejected from this post, 
she turned up smiling at a certain Consulate in Moscow 
and was there at the time of the puerile plot to bribe 
the Lettish guards, which proved the long-sought 
lever for the Bolshevik Government definitely to oust 
the Allies from their already precarious position in 
Russia. The only question in this case seems to be, 
Was the lady a spy or an agent-provocateur ? 

But it was not only, or indeed chiefly, ourselves 

xiii 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



who were at fault. Other of the Allies too are tarred 
with the same brush. And here I beg forgiveness 
beforehand, lest I should offend. You know me, my 
dear Johnston, for too staunch an American to sus- 
pect my goodwill. By heredity and experience my 
sympathies have long since been strongly enlisted on 
your side of the Atlantic, and I have too many friends 
and the memories of too many happy days in America 
to waver in my affection. But the injunction, know 
thyself, seems to me stronger upon us m relation to 
the war even than it was before, and in the war we 
have been all one — on the one side France and her 
Allies, on the other the Boche, who indeed has had no 
allies but only vassals. So really I feel there can be 
no offence if I point to mistakes made in Russia by 
your country. Russia will recover sooner from the 
effects of the war than any other European nation, 
and will in our lifetime probably become the richest 
and most powerful in the world, not excepting the 
United States. It therefore behoves us to see where 
we have gone wrong, so as, if possible, to regain lost 
ground, and as regards America it must be admitted 
that much leeway has to be made up. 

America doubtless welcomed the Russian revolution 
more keenly than many of the Allies. The Imperial 
Government of Russia was supposed to be one of the 
reasons why the United States did not come earlier 
into the war, and its downfall naturally created a wave 
of sympathy with the new-born republic in Eastern 

xiv 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



Europe whose country had been regarded as the 
stronghold of reaction. But the expression of that 
sympathy was not upon the same level of candour and 
certainty. I happened to be in Petrograd when 
Senator Root's mission arrived, and was present at a 
meeting of several thousand at Pavlovsk addressed 
by Mr. Edward Russell, the well-known American 
Socialist leader. Mr. Russell made a speech of fine 
fervour and simplicity, working up to the climax that 
America was the home of liberty and that every 
American would give his life to defend liberty. All 
went well, the speech being translated sentence by 
sentence by an interpreter gifted with tremendous 
lungs, but when he came to the central point this 
gentleman delivered himself in Russian of the senti- 
ment that America was the home of liberty and that 
America would see that not one man more had 
to give his life in the cause of the war; which 
evoked uproarious applause from all Socialists in the 
huge building. On inquiry afterwards, I learned that 
the interpreter attached to Mr. Russell had been chair- 
man of the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' 
Deputies of Harbin, and had been engaged by the 
mission on its way from Vladivostok. A day or two 
later, lunching with Mr. Root at the Winter Palace, I 
found that the interpreter-secretary for the day was 
another gentleman of precisely the same kidney. The 
mission, in fact, was in the hands of its enemies, who, 
at critical moments, were thus able to render its best 

XV 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

intentions nugatory. Is it to be wondered at that in 
these conditions it left without having accomplished 
anything? The same game was played with other 
missions, and if M. Albert Thomas did not suffer from 
such extreme misrepresentations, still even he can 
hardly have been fully aware of the extent and viru- 
lence of the anti-Ally propaganda among Socialistic 
circles with which Kerensky was in intimate touch. 
The real test, however, of the Allied representation 
in Russia was not until after the Bolshevik revolution, 
when the Embassies were sitting in a quasi-conventual 
retirement at Vologda, and Sir George Buchanan had 
already left the country. 

It was in the summer of 1918 that an extremely able 
official of the Russian Red Cross, shortly before that 
institution was taken over and wrecked by the Bol- 
sheviks, asked me what I knew about the work of the 
American Red Cross in Russia. I answered, with 
some surprise, that I should have expected him to 
answer the question better than myself. To which he 
replied : "So far as we know, with the exception of 
distributing condensed milk, they have done abso- 
lutely nothing here but political intrigue." Now we 
have it on good authority that '* talebearers are as 
bad as talemakers," and I would not repeat this; but 
unless the point is made, it is hard, if not impossible, 
to understand the course of recent history in Russia. 
The leaders of the American Red Cross, who may have 
done excellent work in other spheres, undoubtedly 

xvi 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



threw their energy on to the side of the Bolsheviks ; 
and it was understood in Moscow that Colonel Robins, 
who took part and was photographed in the Bolshevik 
Mayday parade last year, did his utmost to get the 
Conciliar Government recognised. As he had some 
English backing also, there were moments of very high 
tension in pro-Ally circles, and though recognition did 
not take place and the tension slackened, nevertheless 
an uneasy feeling remained after Colonel Robins' 
departure, which was not improved by the belief that 
the American Government stood in- the way of inter- 
vention. The American public can hardly have 
grasped the fact that the War was going on all the time 
in Russia, and that the Bolshevik regime was nothing 
but a German barrage ; had they done so, they could 
not have calmly accepted a policy that has cost them 
the sympathy of the entire upper class in Russia. 
Russians, who knew Americans as little as the latter 
did them, were ready when the United States came 
into the war to revise their somewhat crude notions 
and go forward hand in hand with a new Ally in the 
common cause; but the experience of watching 
American representatives apparently willing to enter 
into a compact with their national enemies, which 
might have put the latter into power so solidly as to 
render their removal impossible, destroyed their 
budding sympathy. Since that time Russians have 
witnessed one after another effort, some public, some 
private, in the same direction ; the proposal of the 

xvii c 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



Prinkipo Conference, rightly or wrongly, was attri- 
buted to President Wilson ; another attempt to enter 
into peace negotiations with the Bolsheviks was barely 
averted ; and there have been at least two schemes for 
sending into Russia food that every Russian knew 
would benefit no one but the Bolsheviks. Various 
American journalists and representatives of charitable 
societies have in the last few months visited Russia, 
more or less under Bolshevik protection, and have not 
scrupled to express opinions favourable to the Bol- 
sheviks; which has about the same effect on Russian 
educated opinion as it would have upon Americans if 
Russians visited and belauded an insurrectionary 
Negro Government that had mastered, say. South 
Carolina and murdered most of the whites. When it 
is observed that some, at least, of these knight-errants 
are unacquainted with the Russian language and with 
the customs of the country, it ceases to be surprising 
that they take whatever they are told by the 
Bolsheviks as gospel; but this is only the more ex- 
asperating to Russians, who see the tragic situation of 
their country misrepresented to the outer world by 
persons who they consider have no right to express 
an opinion of any kind. 

That what must be called the American pro- 
Bolshevik movement did not express the feelings and 
desires of a large part of the best representatives of 
the American nation is evident. If objective evidence 
of this were required, it could be found in that remark- 

xviii 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



able publication of the United States Committee on 
Public Information, The German-Bolshevik Con- 
spiracy. No one studying the long series of documents 
collected by Mr. Sisson, of which perhaps six or seven 
are open to the suspicion of having been tampered 
with before they came into his hands or of having been 
copied by his agents from memory, could fail to be 
convinced of the impossibility of any enemy of Ger- 
many making peace with the Bolsheviks. If anyone 
doubts the testimony of that cloud of witnesses, of 
whom I am probably the latest, to the truth concern- 
ing the acts and intentions of the Bolsheviks, let him 
read Mr. Sisson 's pamphlet. I should perhaps say 
that I saw it for the first time after escaping from 
Russia in February, so that his documents can have 
had no effect on my judgment, which was formed 
purely by a consideration of the facts I had observed. 
The reader will find there, not a description of events 
in Russia, but an adequate account of their causes, 
and an explanation of what has happened. Indeed, 
only neglect of Mr. Sisson 's work could have made 
possible the frame of mind of a New York banker who 
explained the United States attitude towards the Bol- 
sheviks by a desire of American business men to have 
the cards reshuffled and a fresh deal made. Lord 
Acton once being asked what was the moment of 
greatest danger in England's history, answered, 
" When Fulton offered to transport Napoleon's army 
across the channel by steamship." Had he lived he 

xix c 2 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



would have seen a greater danger even than this, when 
the Allied Governments, having beaten Germany in 
the field, let themselves be brought to the verge of a 
peace with her agents, our most dangerous enemies, 
in Russia. But this was a danger not only to England, 
but to America also, since Bolshevik Russia, re- 
organised by Germany, would have been able to meet 
and crush the entire world. 

Of the studies in Bolshevik history that make up 
this volume, only two have been published before. 
Taken as a whole, and especially those now offered to 
the public for the first time, they give a fairly com- 
prehensive account of development in Russia from the 
fall of Kerensky to March, 1919. They do not aspire 
to be history. It would be too soon to attempt a 
history of the Bolsheviks, and it is doubtful if a full 
and true history of their adventure can ever be 
written. But I venture to hope that the facts I have 
brought together and the account of my own experi- 
ences will shed some light on dark places in Russia. 
If I could think that they will reveal part of the truth 
to Americans, my ambition would be more than 
satisfied. 

I should perhaps add a word on a delicate subject. 
You will in this book find numerous references to the 
part played by the Jews in Bolshevik Russia. It is 
impossible not to mention so prominent a feature in 
the Bolshevik movement, but it must not be thought 
that my remarks are inspired by any feelings of hos- 

XX 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



tility to the Jewish race. It is not the fact that all 
the Jews are Bolshevik ; on the contrary, very many 
of them have suffered bitterly from the terror. This 
could not be otherwise, when it is reflected that the 
legal profession and journalism in Russia are largely 
recruited from among men of Jewish blood, and that 
the Press and the law courts have been abolished by 
the Bolsheviks. The journalists especially did good 
and dangerous work for Russia until they were 
finally muzzled. But it is the fact that almost all the 
Bolshevik leaders are Jews or have intimate Jewish 
connections. The reason for this is clearly that the 
persecution of the Jews by the Imperial Government 
implanted in many Jewish exiles an ineradicable hatred 
of Russia, and it was of this hatred that Germany took 
advantage in sending Lenin and his associates back to 
their foster-country. Russian Jewish patriots were 
unable, more than others, to stem the tide of trea- 
cherous propaganda conducted by them, and, like 
others, have suffered from its success. Russian Jews 
have now indeed a terrible grievance, but it is against 
the Bolsheviks, not against Russia; for the prepon- 
derance of men of Jewish blood in the Bolshevik camp 
has resulted in what did not exist before among 
Russians, though it did among Poles, a deep-seated 
exasperation against the Jews as a whole, and a grave 
distrust of their motives. In former days pogroms 
were engineered by gendarme agents at the bidding of 
reactionaries in the Government ; but when the Bol- 

xxi 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



sheviks are cleared out the difficulty of the true 
representatives of democratic Russia, come to recon- 
struct the State, will be to restrain the people itself 
from wreaking vengeance on the race of which the 
Bronsteins, Apfelbaums, Rosenblums, and Joffes are 
the reckless and criminal offspring. I believe the new 
leaders will do their best to prevent anti-Semitic 
excesses, but if they cannot, it is Lenin, Trotsky, 
Zinoviev, and Kamenev whom the Jews will have to 
thank. A new chapter in history is about to open, 
but the old causes remain and will work themselves 
out in ways that we cannot foresee but will surely be 
bitter with suffering and wrath. ^ 

Yours ever, 

John Pollock. 
May 22, 1919. 

Note. — The "Sovieti," which are supposed to con- 
stitute the governmental system of Bolshevik Russia, 
are generally referred to in England by their Russian 
name. The objection to this seems to me that the 
word "' soviet," if it represents anything to an English 
reader, must seem to imply something exceptional and 
grand. In fact, the word is the ordinary Russian for 
a council of any description, e.g., the Cabinet 
Council or the administrative body of an insurance 
company. In the Bolshevik system it is used shortly 
for ** a Council of Workmen's, Peasants', or Red- 

xxii 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 



Armymen's* Deputies," or for the Council of the 
People's Commissars, which is at the top of the 
system; and the epithet " sovietsky " for anything 
appertaining to such a Council. It appears to me 
simpler to use the English words '^ Council " and 
'' Conciliar." 

* The word " soldier " has been abolished by the Bolsheviks 
as reactionary, and replaced by " Red-Armyman." 



xxni 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

CHAPTER I 
DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS! 

As Cato ended every speech with the words Delenda 
est Carthago! even so now should every patriotic 
British citizen and every honest thinking man begin 
and end his day, begin and end every important piece 
of business, with the word's, Down with the 
Bolsheviks ! No one should leave his house or return 
to it, no one should sit down to table or rise from it, 
no one should betake himself to pleasure or to work 
without putting up the prayer in his heart, Down with 
the Bolsheviks! The words should be trumpeted at 
every street corner, they should be blazoned on every 
public building, they should be carved in the brain 
and heart of every man who breathes the air of 
freedom : Down with the Bolsheviks ! 

Why should we put down the Bolsheviks ? " Bol- 
shevik " is the name of the extreme wing of the 
Russian Social Democratic Party. The word means a 

25 



tHE* BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

man who wants the big share, who will not be satisfied, 
one might say, with less than all the lot. The Bol- 
shevik party, which has gone on beyond the teachings 
of social democracy and has turned itself into a com- 
munist party, captured the Russian machine' of 
government a year and a half ago. It captured the 
machine by force and has continued to rule by force 
as much of the Russian empire as it can control under 
the guise of " the Socialist Federative Conciliar 
Russian Republic." It calls itself *' the Workman- 
Peasant Government." What concern have we with 
this ? And why should we put down a Government 
that has ruled for eighteen months over some sixty 
million people ? Why should we put down any 
Government at all in Russia ? 

We ought to put down the Bolsheviks and their 
Government in Russia for three reasons. They are 
reasons that have big names, but they are not the less 
true reasons, and though we do not often pronounce 
their names in conversation, it is by them that we 
regulate every action of our lives and every thought of 
our minds. They are Honour, Religion, and Interest. 

First then. Honour. Honour bids us Down with 
the Bolsheviks! To realise this we must look back a 
little into history. The revolution of March, 1917, 
began as a patriotic movement directed against the 
corrupt intrigues of the Court by men who wanted 
Russia and her Alhes to win the war. Now the 
Germans, understanding perfectly that if this move- 

26 



DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS! 



merit crystallised and from being an inspiration, 
became an organisation, their last chance was gone, 
immediately on the revolution taking place rushed the 
Bolsheviks who had been living in exile in Western 
Europe and America back to Russia, and supplied 
them with enormous sums of money to do their work. 
Their work was exactly to prevent this organisation 
and by every possible means to lower the fighting 
spirit of the Russian army, and to dissolve the bonds 
that united Russia to her Allies. The Bolsheviks were 
for the most part not Russians at all, but Jews who 
had suffered persecution at the hands of the Russian 
Government ; they had spent much time m trying to 
corrupt the Russian prisoners of war in Germany and 
Austria, and in otherwise working against their 
country, and now came back determined to revenge 
themselves on the Russian educated classes, though 
these had had no control over the Imperial Govern- 
ment and were not in the least responsible for its 
misdeeds, but had themselves often suffered severely 
from them. The Bolsheviks were aided by countless 
German agents and spies, and they succeeded so well 
in their work that within eight months the Russian 
army had ceased to exist, and they themselves, the 
paid agents of Russia's enemy, had seized the 
machinery of government, that is, the public offices 
and their archives, the post, telegraph, and telephone, 
the mint, the banks, the railways, and all arms and 
ammunition ; and within a few months more had 

27 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

complete control of the printing press and of the food 
supply of the country. Their power is based solely 
on force ; the high-sounding titles they apply to them- 
selves have no foundation in reality ; the elections to 
the " Soviets " or Councils are a sham, and there are 
no better elections of the Commissars nor any other 
control over them ; there is no republic, no federation, 
no socialism, if by socialism is meant control by the 
community of government and of the means of pro- 
duction ; and the Bolsheviks maintain themselves 
solely by the strength of highly-paid guards, composed 
of Letts, Magyars, and Chinese, while thousands of 
spies are employed to scent out and denounce opposi- 
tion. This immense power is used for one chief object : 
to root out in Russia all sense of patriotism and 
indeed of nationality. This the Bolsheviks hope to do 
by crushing the educated classes, for patriotism is 
scarcely developed in the millions of peasants who 
cannot read or write. The educated classes were 
almost all strongly pro-British and pro-Ally, because 
they believed that through the victory of the Allies 
freedom would come to Russia. For this they are now 
being punished. Thousands of officers have been killed 
by the Bolsheviks because they believed that England 
would not allow Germany to triumph over Russia. 
Hundreds of waiters, members of the Duma, liberal 
landlords, public-spirited women, have been flung 
into prison, and many killed on the pretext of plotting 
with the English against the Bolsheviks. Tens of 

28 



DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS! 



thousands are being starved daily in order that the 
last spirit of resistance to the Bolsheviks and their 
German comrades may be squeezed to nothingness. 
And yet the Russian educated classes are faithful to 
their belief in the Allies and especially in England. 
Russia saved the Allies in 1914. Now it is our turn to 
save Russia. Actively or passively we encouraged 
the rising at Yaroslavl, where thousands lost their 
lives, and the plot at Moscow and Petrograd for 
which scores of patriotic Russians fell into the clutches 
of the Bolsheviks. We must keep faith now. That is 
why Honour calls to us, Down with the Bolsheviks! 
If we are not deaf to the claims of the dead and the 
cries of the living we must obey the call. 

Secondly, Religion bids us, Down with the Bol- 
sheviks! I do not use the word in a narrow or 
dogmatic sense. I do not refer to the facts that 
eleven bishops and none knows how many of the 
minor clergy have been shot by the Bolsheviks ; that 
famous Church treasures have been plundered and 
desecrated by them ; that holy images have been torn 
down and lewd posters exhibited broadcast mocking 
or vilifying the Church. What I mean is that the 
Bolsheviks have systematically debased and befouled 
the standards of civilisation that centuries of 
upward effort have implanted in men's minds. All 
sense of justice, loyalty, and honesty disappears under 
their grinding tyranny. Human dignity has been 
unutterably besmirched. Fair trial does not exist. 

29 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



Freedom has become a dream. In the times of the 
bad old autocracy there was yet some meagre control 
over taxation and expenditure; now there is none. 
There is not even taxation, but savage imposition of 
huge fines and forced contributions. No man is safe 
from denunciation, brutal arrest, long imprisonment 
so vile that after a few weeks men's hair sometimes 
turns white, torture, and secret death. Elderly men 
and delicate ladies are forced to do hard physical work 
while strong young men look on and jeer at them. The 
Bolsheviks have introduced the abominable custom of 
taking hostages to prevent opposition and have mur- 
dered thousands of innocent people to terrify or to 
revenge themselves on their political enemies. They 
have hired Chinese coolies to murder and torture for 
them, and these mercenary butchers sell the flesh of 
their victims in the market as meat. They have 
declared that women are public property and would 
make promiscuity compulsory. There is not a senti- 
ment dear to civilised beings, not an aspiration fruitful 
of good in the world, not an ideal to raise and purify, 
that they do not pollute and violate. Mammon and 
Might are their two gods; deceit, crime, corruption, 
and brutality their offerings upon the altar. In the 
name of all that is jsacred to humanity. Religion joins 
her command to that of Honour. Should we fail to 
obey it, our name will be cursed in history as that of 
men who had a precious treasure entrusted to them 
and let a gang of cut-throats filch it away. 

30 



DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS! 

And, lastly, Interest bids us, Down with the 
Bolsheviks! , If we do not put them down, they will 
put us down. Not only us, Englishmen, but French- 
men, Itahans, Americans, just as they have put down 
the real Russians, so that without outside aid it is 
doubtful that they can get up again. The Red Army, 
declares Zinoviev, the president of the Petrograd 
Council, whose real name is Apfelbaum, is destined to 
fight in the streets of London, Paris, and Rome in the 
sacred cause of Communism. And Communism, in 
Zinoviev 's sense, means the abolition of liberty, the 
destruction of property, the stoppage of the factories, 
the most startling increase of disease, universal dirt, 
hunger, and terror. Most of all, the Bolsheviks are 
desirous of smashing the British Empire. It was 
largely by inculcating hatred of Great Britain, by 
misrepresenting British ideals and British methods, 
that they carried out their plan of reducing the fine 
Russian army to a panic-stricken mob. They hate 
British justice, British straightforwardness, British 
thoroughness; they fear British retribution. They 
believe that India is our weakest point and hope to 
strike a deadly blow there, by organising a Bolshevik 
revolution among the Hindoos. With this purpose, 
they have trained Hindoo agitators in Russia to send 
to India for the execution of their schemes, and 
support organisations in neutral countries that have 
the same object. They are training Chinese agitators, 
to raise the huge yellow masses of the East against 

81 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

civilised Europe. This is an awful danger. But even 
more pressing is the menace of fusion between Bol- 
shevik Russia and Germany. This is the logical 
result of Germany's having sent the Bolsheviks to 
Russia. It has been foreseen by the Germans at least 
from the time when their last offensive on the Western 
Front failed. If they were beaten in the field they 
would turn Bolshevism loose on Europe, reckoning on 
their own sturdiness and tenacity of purpose to pull 
them first out of the universal devil's cauldron. They 
have been beaten, and have sued for peace, they have 
the prospect of an enormous debt to pay ; now they 
think to refuse or stultify the terms of peace, renounce 
their debt, and turn on their conquerors with a new 
motto, '' Revolutionary Deutschland uber alles ! " 
There were those of us in Russia who long ago raised 
our voice in warning of a moment when the German 
sergeant might lead Russia's blind millions against the 
Allies. That moment is now upon us. If we are to 
avert it, and to prevent Germany from turning our 
victory against ourselves, we must put down the 
Bolsheviks in Russia. A strong, free Russia is essen- 
tial to the peace of Europe. The Bolsheviks are very 
strong against unarmed Russians in Russia, but they 
are very weak against a foe, Russian or anybody else, 
coming in arms from outside. Their body is rotten 
at the core ; at the first blow dealt resolutely and with 
organised forces it will fall to pieces. All Russia is 
weary of their iniquities. The pressed soldiers will 

82 



DOWN WITH THE BOLSHEVIKS! 

not fight. The officers, forced to serve for fear of 
being shot and, worse, having their famihes shot, will 
desert. Even without a blow, twice, in December, 
1918, and in January, 1919, there was such a panic in 
Petrograd on the mere rumour that British troops 
had been seen in the field that the Bolshevik leaders 
fled to Moscow and the principal Bolshevik institu- 
tions were prepared for instant evacuation. The whole 
Automobile Division was got ready for the road in 
two days — not to go against the British, but to run 
away from them. Last summer it would scarcely 
have cost an effort to put down the Bolsheviks. This 
year it will still be easy. Money, ammunition, food, 
and organisation are all that is needed for the forces 
already in the field against the Bolsheviks. More 
Allied troops they can do without, though British 
volunteer detachments would add greatly to their 
prestige and strength. But if we wait till the 
Germans have performed their transformation scene 
and emerged with their brains and method to organise 
Bolshevik Russia and lead it against us, the story will 
be very different. Then we shall have to fight the war 
over again and at a disadvantage. It may be expen- 
sive now to put down the Bolsheviks, but it will be 
much more expensive to defend ourselves from them 
then. More expensive in money, in effort, in blood. 
Hungary and Bavaria are proofs of the folly of sup- 
posing that any barrier of buffer-States, or "cordon 
sanitaire," can keep out the Bolsheviks, and though 

83 D 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

pacific to-day the evil may break out afresh to- 
morrow. A wooden fence cannot keep out a swarm of 
hornets. The only defence against the hornets is to 
find and destroy their nest. The nest of the Bolsheviks 
needs no finding. All we have to do is to summon up 
determination to destroy it. But destroyed it must 
be, or the hornets will destroy us. Honour, Rehgion, 
and Interest are at one. Delenda est Carthago! 
Down with the Bolsheviks I 



84 



CHAPTER II 
CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 

" Rat-tat ! Rat-tat ! "— " Who goes there ? "— 
" 'Er, I want to see Mr. Petrov— Flat No. 115."— 
" Do you live here ? " — ''No, no. I have only come 
to see Mr. Petrov — on business, the most urgent busi- 
ness. I am quite alone; here is my visiting card." 
The great gate, through the chink in whose postern a 
mouse could hardly squeeze, stirs and clatters, and the 
postern is opened three inches more : a stout chain is 
visible that will hold it in that position against a score 
pushing from without. *' Pass your card in : after 
nine o'clock no stranger can enter without leave of the 
chief of the guard." An anxious hand moves, and 
while the pasteboard is examined the inquirer is con- 
scious of an uncomfortable scrutiny from three pairs 
of eyes within and of the business end of a carbine 
turned towards himself. " Pass in." Mr. Petrov 's 
visitor is admitted, and the postern hastily shut and 
double-locked behind him. 

Are we in France during the occupation of Bordeaux 
by the Black Prince ? Is this a blockhouse on the eve 

86 D 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



of a Red Indian raid ? Or a scene from the private 
warfare of King Stephen's barons ? The situation will 
bear the comparisons, and is perhaps more fantastic 
and uncertain than any; for we are in Petrograd at 
Christmastide in the year '17, where the Bolsheviks or 
Maximalists hold sway. 

An Englishman's house is his castle, we say, but it is 
nothing to the state of fortification maintained by the 
committee of a house in the capital of the former 
empire of Russia. House-committees sprang spon- 
taneously into being when the Bolsheviks first seized 
the power in Petrograd. For a considerable time they 
were, and indeed now remain, the only protection 
against organised pillage, debauchery, and murder. 
They procured weapons at high prices from dealers, or 
at low ones from members of the Red Guard un- 
scrupulous enough to part with their rifles to the 
bourgeois — they organised guards of able-bodied 
tenants, sometimes reinforced by paid Caucasian 
bravos, who keep the gates in watches of three or four 
hours throughout the night, and can, if need be, 
summon from twenty to sixty men to their aid in a 
few minutes. They have no existence in law, but 
have to be reckoned with by the Bolsheviks' masters as 
possessed of a certain, if indefinite, force. They have 
organised co-operative societies, through which it is 
possible to obtain bread, paraffin, and sugar without 
waiting for several hours in the street queue, and salt 
herrings at a third of their retail price, which is a 

86 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 



rouble and a half; tliey afford a means of human 
intercourse at a moment when few leave home after 
dark save on serious affairs and bursts of musketry 
in the street break the stillness of the long evenings. 
On Boxing Day at a fashionable theatre there were 
twenty people in the house, and a few nights before a 
gentleman was undressed by a gang of robbers and 
flung into the canal almost at its doors. People have 
been stripped of valuables and clothes, as it were, in 
Portland Place or St. James's Square, and an ex- 
Minister of the revolutionary Government was cleaned 
out a few steps from his house when returning from a 
political meeting. 

" No doubt," said to me the head of one of the 
departments in the Ministry of Justice, ''people in 
Europe imagine that murder goes on uninterruptedly 
in Russia, that it is unsafe to walk in the streets, and 
that the revolution literally boils at every moment. 
Not a bit ! We go our way as if nothing had hap- 
pened, we do our daily business, eat, joke, go to the 
play, balls are given every night by ' the Comrades ' 
— in fact, life remains life, only its episodes are 
changed." We went our way, however, it being 
night time, in the middle of the street, and my com- 
panion's right hand was in his pocket. I had little 
doubt that it rested lightly on the butt of an automatic 
pistol. So did mine. He is an accomplished, learned 
man, well read in French history, an upright official 
and former judge with twenty years of good service 

37 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

behind him. In company with the other chiefs of his 
Ministry he has now been dismissed by the Bolsheviks 
and is seeking an occupation, if only at two hundred 
roubles a month, which is worth perhaps £100 a year.^ 
Experience of the Russian troubles throws light on 
a phase of the French Revolution that has occasion- 
ally caused misunderstanding. Some years ago M. 
Frantz Funck-Brentano published a paper showing 
with what frivolity Parisians of the time regarded the 
Revolution, how they went to the taking of the 
Bastille as to an entertainment, and that Mole's 
acting ** aux Fran5ais " ranked in interest with the 
fall of the Tuileries. The serious were scandalised 
and asked how it was possible that the world should 
have been mistaken in its estimate of such notorious 
events. Others inferred that then the events were 
indeed of far less importance and that historians had 
subsequently, in the journalistic phrase, written them 
up. In reality there is no contradiction. Those who 
have lived through the past months in Russia know 
how in moments of great peril, when the fate of 
nations may be in the balance, curiosity will get the 
upper hand of a deeper emotion and interest in every- 
day affairs persists as a guiding force for those who do 
not take part in the shooting. Moreover, at moments 
when tragic events obsess the mind and talk has 
ranged over them, debating them from every 
angle and never reaching any but the same 
^ At the pre-war rate of exchange, 1 rouble = 2«. 2d. 
88 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 

conclusion, it is imperative to find relaxation in 
other thoughts, even in mere silliness. The 
difference between revolution as history and as 
life is that, in the former, the leading facts are 
grouped together so as to shadow forth the ideas that 
underlie and direct them ; in the latter, between events 
of importance occur long spaces of time that their 
witnesses spend in the daily round, the while strain- 
ing every faculty to comprehend the march of fate, so 
as to foresee and guard against its next blow. The 
waiting seems endless, wearisome, yet when the event 
arrives it is always with the sensation that it has come 
too soon, and that its successor treads on its heels 
with breathless haste. 

Colonel Walden, late senior commanding officer of 
his Majesty's Rifle Regiment of the Guards, Knight 
of St. George, and veteran of the Japanese War, 
deserves to be gibbeted as high as Haman. For it 
was he who commanded the Red Guard at Tsarskoe 
Selo when Kerensky, having fled from Petrograd in 
the disguise, some say of a sailor, others of a sister 
of mercy, moved upon the capital with twenty guns 
and an insignificant force of Cossacks, and he it was 
who, despite the strong anti-Bolshevik opinions he 
was wont to express to brother officers, turned the 
probable defeat of the hordes of fanatic workmen and 
motley soldiers drawn from every regiment in Petro- 
grad into the success that gave Lenin and Trotsky 
their dictatorial throne. The fighting in Petrograd 

89 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



itself was purely local, and was for the possession of 
the Winter Palace, the telephone station, and the 
military training colleges. They were defended by 
Junkers, those gallant lads whose ambition to be 
Russian officers can never be fulfilled, and the first of 
them, dreadful to relate, by a detachment of tlie 
Petrograd Women's Battalion. There was no leader- 
ship, no plan, no preparation, no visible object; 
nothing but devotion in a cause that the defenders 
believed to be Russia's and death and suffering, and 
savagery on the part of the attacking sailors and work- 
men after the points were won. Some of the women 
captured, it is believed, were violated : there were cases 
of subsequent madness and suicide; men were 
starved, or clubbed to death, or vilely used. Forty 
Junkers caught after the taking of the Winter Palace 
.were sent to the fortress of Peter and Paul that 
frowns across the Neva. " Stand here and wait : 
we shall kill you to-morrow," they were told, but they 
managed to slip a bar in their prison window and 
swam the river to a spot between two guards, the 
good swimmers helping the worse. They climbed 
up a drain-pipe to the upper storey of their college 
that abuts on the quay, changed into civilian clothes, 
out again the same way, and footed it to Luban, fifty 
miles along the railway to Moscow, hiding in ditches 
when they saw anyone coming. Thence they boarded 
a train to a station not far from Moscow and there 
dispersed. He who narrated the tale did not think 

40 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 

it out of the common. If caught they would all have 
been killed : that knowledge probably dulled their 
imagination, while it gave them strength beyond 
their own. 

At Tsarskoe when the fighting was over the Red 
Guards, who had lost heavily, refused admittance to 
the hospital to the wounded Cossacks and tore the 
bandages off their limbs, threatening to throw them 
all into a pit and burn them alive with paraffin. 
Here, too, they butchered a priest while he prayed 
for the deliverance of Russia from civil war. 

In Moscow the affair was more prolonged. The 
Bolsheviks were far less numerous than in Petrograd, 
where they counted all the large working-class popu- 
lation and much of the garrison ; they were less ably 
led, and only conquered with the aid of sailors from 
Cronstadt sent down to stamp out the hydra of 
counter-revolution, as Socialist writers like to put 
it. In both they had to call upon the skill of their 
ready allies. At the taking of the Winter Palace, 
German and Austrian prisoners of war were observed ^ 
taking part in the operations. At Moscow, after the 
Bolsheviks had bombarded the Cadets' Corps, that is, 
the preliminary military training college, for three 
days, overshooting their mark from both sides and 
causing much loss to their own people, they invited 

1 Among others, by the staff of VEntente, the able Franco- 
Russian paper that kept warm the seat of the suppressed 
Novoe Vremya until it was itself suppressed. 

41 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

a German officer to lay the guns ; on which he placed 
ten shells running into the building and forced its 
surrender. The Kremlin, bombarded from three 
points with six and eight-inch guns as well as lighter 
metal, profited by this paucity of experienced 
gunners and fortunately suffered less than was at 
first believed. One of the outer gates, however, has 
been considerably damaged, and it is reported that 
the monastery and at least one of the cathedrals 
inside the walls were hit by shells, though the strict 
control exercised over visitors prevents independent 
verification. There can be hardly a doubt that a 
great part of the Petrograd Church treasures and 
objects of art from the Hermitage sent to the 
Kremlin for safe-keeping from the Germans will ulti- 
mately be found to have vanished. 

Though the Kremlin was not destroyed and the 
church of St. Basil the Blessed not burnt, nevertlie- 
less Moscow suffered enough from the Bolshevik fury. 
Within a ring of a quarter of a mile from the Kremlin, 
which is the centre of the city, hardly a pane of glass 
escaped smashing, either from concussion or from 
rifle and machine-gun fire. Numerous small churches 
and shrines were riddled with bullets. At the 
junction between one of the main streets and the 
inner boulevard that encircles the town four large 
houses, nearly the size of small London blocks, have 
been burnt out, and many of their residents perished 
in the cellars. The Hotel M^tropole had its upper 

42 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 

storeys wrecked; eight high-explosive and some fifty 
shrapnel shells found their billet here. Inevitably 
the belongings of guests were rifled by the drunken 
soldiers, who also broke into the Little Theatre, the 
famous " theatre de Moliere russe " across the street, 
and ransacked the wardrobe of the leading actors. 
Life has come to have such a precarious value that 
no one seems to have attempted an accurate count of 
human losses ; but it is probable that in the fighting 
at Petrograd, Moscow, and Tsarskoe Selo the casual- 
ties totalled not less than ten thousand. 

The fight at Tsarskoe Selo was the end of Kerensky. 
Known before the revolution as a lawyer of mediocre 
attainments, his rise to power was the result of the 
absence from the scene of any strong personality that 
might have interrupted the spread of the legend from 
which his gigantic and mushroom popularity was 
derived. He was a Socialist intellectual at a time 
when respect for intellect had not yet been smothered 
in the army by the catchwords supplied from 
Germany, and there was no man of real eminence in 
the same position : that was all. Vain, weak, 
hysterical, unprincipled, self-convinced, maybe by 
the catchpenny phrases that were all the core of his 
eloquence, supporting, condoning or ignoring the 
worst excesses, the most slavish errors that accom- 
panied the ruin of the army and the dissolution of 
stable government, he drove the ship of State on to 
rocks faster than a man of more apparently criminal 

48 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



character might have done. Fear of being supplanted 
by the Cadets (the Party of the People's Liberty) 
stayed his hand when, in July, any decent patriot 
would have put down the Bolsheviks once and for all — 
a whiff of grapeshot would have done it ; yet greater 
fear of General Kornilov led him to lie to that true 
lover of his country and son of the Russian soil, and 
to invent, with the aid of Nekrassov and otBer 
Socialist tutors, the legend of his " mutiny " that was 
the last stroke to the possibility of military efficiency. 
Fearful alike of being held too moderate and too 
extreme, without policy or standard, he forfeited the 
support of every section of the nation and fell, an 
object of scorn or hatred to all. His last acts, in 
summoning a company of girls to the defence of the 
indefensible Winter Palace, whence he himself fled, 
leaving them to fall into the hands of the sailors from 
Cronstadt, and in sacrificing the lives of the Junkers 
in Petrograd by an order to seize the telephone ex- 
change when he must have known that his promise 
to enter the capital in victory in a few hours was an 
empty boast, can hardly give him a lower place in 
history than that which was already his due. To- 
wards Russia and her Allies his attitude, in relation 
to the Bolsheviks, was that of a decoy who whistles 
in front of his victim for the actual assassin to come 
behind and deal the deadly stroke. 

In this estimate of Kerensky there is one fact that 
is not taken into account. It has been remarked that 

U 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 



when Lenin was under sentence of arrest, all the 
efforts of Kerensky did not succeed in finding him ; 
now that Kerensky is under sentence of arrest by 
Lenin, not all the latter 's million hounds can unearth 
the vanished Premier. There are not found wanting 
those who draw the inference that a closer bond 
unites the two leaders than either would publicly 
admit, and that serving the same masters neither 
could afford to hand over the other to justice. 

The completeness of the Bolshevik triumph shows 
how even the most impartial observers were guilty 
during last summer and autumn of excessive 
optimism. Evident as was the collapse of adminis- 
tration and the terrifying deterioration in every form 
of life, the canker under the surface had eaten even 
more dangerously into the structure of society. Only 
the seizure of the reins by a band of usurpers, mostly 
not of Russian blood, openly boasting that they 
served the interests not of Russia but of International 
Socialism, was needed finally to disjoint the once 
imperial machine and change the inheritance of Ivan, 
Peter and Catherine into a series of inchoate, weak 
and hostile quasi-republics, tormented by civil war, 
and united only by spectres of hunger and bank- 
ruptcy spreading over the land. To fortify their 
work the Bolsheviks have abolished the freedom of 
the Press. The.v have, for the first time in history, 
prohibited newspapers from publishing advertise- 
ments. They have abolished the inviolability at- 

4S 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



tached even in the days of tyranny to members of 
the supreme assembly of the people. They have 
abolished the existence even of the Courts of Justice. 
They have seized the banks. Patriots such as the 
sailor, Batkin, famous revolutionaries like Burtsev 
and Purishkevich, the slayer of Rasputin, are flung 
into prison; in the general persecution no one feels 
that his liberty and property are secure. But with 
liberty the Bolsheviks have indeed no concern. They 
are the real tyrants and openly say that if the Con- 
stituent Assembly, such even as they allow to meet, 
is not to their liking, they will go their way without 
its sanction.^ Their aim is admittedly that of the 
German Social Democratic leaders — the dictatorship 
of the working class. If they cannot achieve this they 
make no concealment that they would rather have 
an autocracy again, Russian or German, than a 
republic with the educated elements predominant. 
The first they could upset later ; the second would be 
too strong for them. Not a few competent persons 
believe that they know a working-class domination to 
be impossible and are deliberately playing to brmg 
back the Romanovs. The enemies of the ex-Empress 
appear to earn their specific disfavour, while negotia- 
tions have been carried on with the Grand Duke Paul 
Alexandrovich and the notorious former Minister of 
Justice, Shcheglovitov. Meantime, nothing that can 

1 In fact, as soon as it met, the Bolsheviks destroyed it 
by force. 

46 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 

terrify and disgust respectable citizens is omitted. 
For days together Petrograd has been the prey of 
prowhng bands that, to the accompaniment of rifle 
and machine-gun fire, sacked the wine-stores, be- 
ginning with the cellars of the Winter Palace, and 
ending in a three days' siege of a vodka distillery near 
the Admiralty stores. The '* Red Guards " sent to 
turn out the drunken soldiers not infrequently fell 
on the bottles and had to be dealt with by detachments 
of sailors, while the latter sometimes turned their 
attention from the liquor in private cellars to the 
silver in the house. The railways are slowly dying. 
Every month nine hundred engines go out of service, 
and only ninety are repaired. Their place is taken 
by goods engines which crawl at about fifteen miles 
an hour. The journey from Petrograd to Moscow 
(as it were, Edinburgh to London) now takes from 
eighteen to thirty hours instead of the former twelve, 
and tickets are no longer issued beyond Moscow. 
Since the peace negotiations and the degradation of 
officers, the " comrades " — a word brought into 
derision and loathing by the brutal egoism of the 
soldiers — pouring away from the Front to their 
homes, literally storm the trains, demolishing 
windows and doors in their impatience, and there are 
ticket-holders who have had to wait for days before 
being able to get a fraction of a seat. Trains are 
warmed perhaps for six hours in twenty-four, and 
are filthy. The underpaid railway servants con- 

47 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

stantly threaten to strike. In this turmoil the post 
and telegraph work intermittently and render still 
more haphazard the already difficult communications. 
More and yet more factories close down owing to the 
exorbitant demands of the workmen, and to want 
of fuel or raw material. A large part of Petrograd 
receives electric light only for six hours a day, the 
inconvenience of which will be recognised on reflecting 
that in winter Petrograd hardly enjoys more than 
six hours' daylight. Candles and paraffin are very 
expensive and difficult to procure. In short, the 
mechanism of life becomes more unhinged day by 
day and there is no one that does not face the possi- 
bility of its breaking down altogether. Then life 
will become, in the classic definition to which it even 
now approaches, "nasty, brutish and short. '^ 
Mereshkovsky, repentant of his early ardour for peace 
at any price, wrote that three things alone were 
lacking to the peace demonstration held on the 30th 
of December. Three coffins, he said, should have 
been borne in the procession : that of the conscience 
of Russia, that of the liberty of Russia, and the white 
spotless coffin of Russia herself. 

The German success in forcing an armistice and, 
it may soon be, a disastrous peace ^ on Russia is the 
heaviest defeat incurred by Great Britain since at 
least the battle of Austerlitz. " Roll up the map of 
Europe," cried Pitt in agony of soul : that of Russia 
1 [Written early in 191 8. J 
48 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 



has been torn to shreds by Teuton agents under the 
eyes of Britain, to her grave despite, and without her 
lifting a finger to prevent it. The Russian army has 
ceased to exist : its officers by the last blow reduced 
to the ranks, its every service disorganised, without 
aim, system, or discipline, it lies on the face of tlie 
land, a huge, dismembered carcass, putrefying before 
it has ceased to breathe, and by its poisonous weight 
stifling all hope of healthy movement in the nation. 
The Front lies open. Bread is sold to the Germans. 
German prisoners of war already almost freely cross 
to their fatherland. Their fellows still in Russia drill 
and are armed in expectation of speedy return or of 
a mission nearer the banks of the Neva. The bevy 
of German officers and diplomats that welcomed the 
New Year in Petrograd are free, surrounded by the 
agreeable attentions of Herr Trotsky-Bronstein, to 
exercise the same arts by which their country ob- 
tained the vassaldom of Turkey and of Bulgaria. The 
feigned shrieks of disapproval emitted by the inspired 
Conciliar Press on the partial publication of the 
German terms of peace will hardly disturb them : 
they know that the rule of Kerensky and Lenin has 
destroyed Russia's last power to defend herself, had 
she indeed the will. 

In this catastrophe the position of Great Britain 
and her Allies is one of profound humiliation. We 
have allowed ourselves to be pushed nearer and 
nearer the edge of the bed that we and our friend 

49 E 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

had taken at the inn by an impudent robber who has 
crept in, stolen our friend's watch and pistol, slapped 
us, shoved us, spat in our face, and will perhaps 
before long heave us over the side and lord it in our 
place. We the while have shown a truly Christian 
resignation. Our action, even when the final move 
for our ejection began, was confined tcJ a refusal to 
recognise the interloper. We would not treat with 
him, we would not recognise him or answer him. We 
would only let him insult us and injure us and 
triumph over us. Thus it has come about that while 
hardly two educated Russians out of ten will believe 
that the British Embassy in Petrograd did not en- 
gineer the revolution of February, which has proved 
the cause of their undoing, our enemy, who knew how 
to profit by it as we did not, has successfully repre- 
sented us to the uneducated masses as oppressors of 
the people and vampires draining the world's veins to 
swell our money-bags. 

It may be that nothing would have staved off for 
long this degradation. The anarchic conditions of 
the upper classes and the good-hearted laziness of the 
bulk of the nation, accustomed to accept the accom- 
plished fact without resistance, might always have 
paralysed the organisation of our interests. The 
geographic position, too, was against us. It was 
against us that we were many and our enemy's mind 
was single. Weapons were at his command that 
would be hard for a Parliamentary Government to 

50 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 



justify, the more so for one snapped at by curs ever 
ready to yelp against their country. Yet when all this 
is counted it must be admitted that our policy of 
do-nothing-and-hope-for-the-best has been tragically 
weak. We have never let pass an opportunity to 
declare that we will not interfere in the internal affairs 
of Russia. This is not a policy that would have been 
endorsed by Pitt or by Canning. We ought to have 
interfered. We should have been impervious to the 
fears of the snobs before the revolution as well as to 
the taunts of the mob since. Let Russia work out 
her fate by herself ; but during the War, and until the 
murderer of Belgium and of freedom is brought to 
his knees, we should never have borne hindrance from 
her in our great task. We took over the port of 
Archangel : we should have insisted on taking control 
of the railways. We put men into the Treasury : we 
should have demanded men and women known for 
German agents to be put out of the Government. 
Last year we presented, but a month late, a few 
Easter cards to the soldiers : we should haj^e distri- 
buted five million pounds in presents to them, and 
it would have been cheap. We should have remem- 
bered that the mob does not respect cowardice : it 
respects the fist. Fist-rule is the basis of the 
Bolshevik power. We took down the name of a 
British queen from over the Anglo-Russian hospital 
in Petrograd to pacify the demagogy, and everyone 
saw in the action the curved back of a toady. We 

51 E 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

should have better followed the example of a Russian 
Red Cross Commissioner who, to speak with a 
Bolshevik delegation, put on not only his Russian but 
a Serbian decoration, so that his interviewers might 
have two crowns before their eyes. 

The representatives of the Allies in Petrograd 
throughout the War have had a steady lead of staunch 
patriotism from the British Ambassador, but it would 
have needed the vision of a Lincoln and the supple- 
ness of a Barillon to cope with a series of situations 
requiring the maximum of insight, stubbornness and 
dexterity. 

'* Great is our land and bounteous, but there is no 
order in it. Come ye and rule over us." Thus, 
according to legend, did the Slav chiefs write to the 
Northmen, and Rurik and his two valiant brothers 
came and ruled in the land. During the last three 
months the same cry has gone up from the Russian 
educated classes, as almost from one man. ^' I 
cannot understand the Allies," said a member of the 
second Duma. '* Do they mean to wait till the 
Germans come here and organise an army agaist 
them ? I have lived in the country in Russia half my 
life and I know the people. To-morrow they will 
kiss the toe that kicks them to-day. They are 
children. When they slaughter stock and burn seed- 
corn, do you think they understand what they are 
doing? The policy of grabbing the land without 
system or reason means ruin to themselves, and very 

52 



CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BOLSHEVIKS 



soon when the Germans come to make order they will 
welcome them. Then they will march against the 
Allies just as they did against Germany in 1914.'^ 
The question was put to an artillery colonel from the 
Caucasian Front. '' Not fight for the Germans ? 
They will fight for anyone who takes a stick to them. 
A score of German Feldwehel will give you the best 
soldiers in the world." " The Allies ought to have 
treated Russia as Europe treated China in the 
Boxer troubles," said a Jewish lawyer. " Let the 
Americans come, or the Japanese, or the English, 
or the French; if they do not the Germans will." 
It may be safely said that the most patriotic 
Russians yearn for the possibility of a punitive expe- 
dition. In the more than likely absence of any such, 
and if the Cossacks have not the strength to master 
the North, it must be expected that twenty or thirty 
years will pass before signs of civilised progress 
reappear in Russia. At present she is living on the 
remains of capital inherited from the days when 
people worked and some order was preserved, and 
when these are exhausted and when necessity has 
schooled the present universal irresponsibility, a new 
structure will have to be built afresh from the founda- 
tions. But to accuse the Russian educated classes 
of what has happened is completely to misunderstand 
the situation. Nothing could be more stupid or 
cruel than the slights which Russian officers in France 
and England feel to imply that they are guilty of 

58 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

treachery. They are the martyrs of the German 
intrigue that has dissolved the State of Russia. 
Nor must even the mass of the people be judged too 
harshly. They were cut off from the light by a 
corrupt Court, a reactionary bureaucracy, and a 
frivolous aristocracy. They know not what they 
do. In their blackest crimes, their most ruinous 
blunders, they are still a people of gifts beyond the 
common, a people that deserve our sympathy, our 
deepest pity, our prayers, but not our hate. 



M 



CHAPTER III 
BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

For fourteen days ^ Moscow has been without news- 
papers, save those which the Council of People's 
Commissioners and their party are pleased to issue. 
For fourteen days Moscow has been without telephone, 
save for the convenience of the Conciliar Government 
and its satellite institutions. And this state of things, 
unprecedented in the world as we know it, may last 
for an indefinite time and indeed is quite likely to do 
so until the Germans occupy the city, should it be to 
their liking. The effect must be much the same as 
that of life on the occupants of a harem. We live 
behind a veil as dense and as palpable as that 
severing the seraglio from the outer spheres, and 
whatever news comes to us must percolate through, 
or drift over or under the curtain. 

To say that the murder of Count Mirbach, German 

envoy to the Council, which called forth or was the 

pretext for the total suppression of freedom of the 

1 The second and third weeks of July, 1918. 

55 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

written word, was a shock, would be to give a false 
impression. The news was staggering by the thought 
of what it might lead to ; but no one, save doubtless 
the Bolshevik and personal friends of the deceased, 
was in the least shocked. Once the fact, rumoured 
within two hours of its accomplishment, was sub- 
stantiated, all interest was centred on the question of 
its consequences. Less concern was expressed for 
the fate of the luckless diplomat than would have been 
aroused by the end of an acquaintance's dog. The 
assassination seemed totally bereft of personal 
interest. Count Mirbach was a pawn in the game 
being played in Hussia for the mastery of the world. 
He was a symbol of the Teuton mailed fist. When 
he moved the tread of the imperial legions was heard . 
He was the receiving point for the couriers who pass 
twice a week to and from Berlin in their special rail- 
way coaches. When he spoke it was the voice of 
Germany coming across that special wire laid directly 
from her capital to the house in quiet Money Alley ,^ 
which was her representative's habitation. And the 
bullet that put an end to his life was not intended for 
the man, but for the menacing Power behind him 
that has robbed Russia of her glory and her wealth, 
and dissolved the Russian State. 

At 8.10 p.m. on the 6th of July Count Mirbach was 
shot in his study " in accordance with a resolution 
of the Central Committee of the Left Social Revolu- 
' D^nezhny pereiilok. 
&^ 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

tionary Party." So said the manifesto of the party 
printed that night for publication in their organ; 
but the Bolsheviks overpowered the guard they set 
round the printing-office and the manifesto never 
appeared. Of his assassins, one was an assistant- 
chairman of the Extraordinary Commission for 
Struggle with the Counter Revolution, which is the 
chief weapon of the Council for maintaining and 
spreading its reign of terror; the other a journalist 
from Odessa, fetched to Moscow for the purpose. 
The Social Revolutionary Party it was that, under 
the old rSgime, carried out the majority of the acts 
of terror directed against the autocracy, such as the 
assassinations of Sipiagin and Plehve. On no 
occasion was their work more neatly planned or 
executed. Their agents drove to the German's 
house in a motor-car, presented certificates from the 
Extraordinary Commission, and were immediately 
shown into the Ambassador's study. There, in the 
presence, it would seem, of a secretary and a German 
officer, they pistolled him, and throwing a bomb 
among the astonished servitors and staff, jumped 
through the window, climbed the low iron railing 
that surrounds the garden and drove off in their car, 
while a German colonel, dashing out of his flat in the 
house opposite, vainly stormed at the mulish Letts 
on guard for not shooting. Neither has so far been 
caught. 
In a phrase, the momentous candour of which 

57 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

perhaps escaped him, Comrade Trotsky-Bronstein 
officially announced that the murder was directed less 
against Germany than against the Conciliar Power, 
that is, the Bolshevik Government of which Trotsky 
is himself one of the chief props and ornaments. The 
connection thus authoritatively made between the 
Bolsheviks and the Boches is further made plain by 
two facts. First, the representatives of the Extra- 
ordinary Commission were without hesitation shown 
into the German Ambassador's presence ; and it must 
be presumed that Count Mirbach did not habitually 
hobnob with an association of murderers, save for a 
fixed purpose, and without the existence of a definite 
understanding between them. Secondly, the calm 
with which Germany has swallowed the smartest 
smack in the face received by a Sovereign Power since 
Louis the Fourteenth had an Italian minister kid- 
napped in his own land and clapped into prison for 
life, proves not that Christian principles have been 
adopted in Prussia, but that the Kaiser's Government 
knows its position in Russia to be so secure that it 
need not budge, and is resolved not to be pin-pricked 
into budging until the time chosen by itself. ** Hier 
miissen wir doch sitzen bleiben," was the comment, 
overheard by the writer on the same evening, of a 
Hun excited into speaking more than he should have. 
The murder, moreover, declared the official proclama- 
tion, was done at the bidding of English and French 
Imperialists, who also bought Muraviev, the 

58 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 



commander of the Conciliar troops on the Czecho- 
slovak front, formerly notorious as the Bolshevik 
butcher in the Ukraine, with the object of opening the 
road to Petrograd and Moscow " and all Conciliar 
Russia " to the " internal enemy." 

The *' Right " Social Revolutionaries, among whose 
leaders were Kerensky and Chernov, none too clean- 
handed or inspired by patriotism themselves, were 
hurled into nothingness by the October revolution, 
and are since then reckoned as counter-revolutionaries, 
'' social patriots," '' defence-men," and everything 
that stinks in Bolshevik nostrils. The rebellion now 
organised by the *' Left " Social Revolutionaries, who 
in October (1917) shot down women and children, and 
shared fully in the guilt of the massacres of Kiev, 
Odessa and Sebastopol, is probably to be explained 
as much on personal as on public grounds. They were 
being squeezed out of power ; yet, fanatic, self-seeking 
and ignorant though they are, perhaps they perceived 
that in the present Government there could be no 
place for persons of Russian blood or of anything 
approaching to Russian ideals. Their proclaimed ob- 
ject was, by the murder of Mirbach, to force Germany 
into activity, and then, raising the standard of revolt 
among the peasants, to harass the enemy by wide- 
spread guerilla warfare. They accepted, like every- 
one, the fact that the " Red " Army is incapable of 
serious fighting against disciplined and properly 
supplied troops. Resistance to the Czecho-Slovaks 

59 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

and to the " White Guards " at Yaroslavl and other 
places is to be explained by the deficiencies in number 
and materiel of the latter, and Muraviev's fatal 
mistake probably lay in his ordering the Reds under 
his command to turn westward against the Germans, 
whom they would go almost any length to avoid 
fighting. On the Harkov front, to attain this result, 
certain detachments have actually been known to 
throw away their boots, an extreme sacrifice to 
pacifism in a land where, as in Russia, footgear is 
l)eyond price. 

The failure of the Social Revolutionaries was made 
certain by their complete want of concerted action. 
They took no steps to seize the Fifth Congress of 
Councils which was sitting in the Opera House, but 
apparently relied on the mere noise of Mirbaclrs dis- 
posal to overawe the assembly : a hope doomed to be 
vain when it is remembered that two-thirds of that 
body are estimated to be in the direct pay of the Bol- 
sheviks. No movement was arranged between Moscow 
and the provinces, whence, save for a slight diversion 
on the Kursk front, nothing was reported ; and within 
the capital the seizure of the telegraph office and of 
the Pokrovsky barracks were isolated acts, as easily 
dealt with as the defence of the party printing office. 
Nowhere did the rebels show serious fight ; they pre- 
ferred with strange placidity to surrender to the mercy 
of the Conciliar power, who had them shot out of hand 
or executed the following day. As is usual in such 

60 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 



cases, an accurate tally of the dead is impossible to 
furnish, but it is supposed to amount to some five 
hundred. Only one of the leaders, Alexandrovich, 
" unfortunately," in Trotsky's word, was caught and 
killed. The representatives of the party in the 
Congress were kept under arrest until the Council 
had dealt with the armed opposition and were then 
released. 

Definite as was the political situation in its main 
lines before, the murder and revolt made it still 
clearer. When Russian sailors were ejected from the 
telegraph office by a detachment of Magyars, not, 
hotly contested Trotsky, organised as prisoners of 
war, but as being '* comrade-internationalists," and 
when other operations for the defence of the Conciliar 
power were entrusted to Letts, who detest the 
Russians, and to Chinese, it was no longer possible 
to blink the fact that the Bolshevik Government, 
directed almost exclusively by men of non-Russian 
blood and instincts, is not national, nor international, 
but purely anti-national. The revolution of Feb- 
ruary and March, 1917, was a political movement in 
which all classes were associated; but inspired, 
originated, and directed by the intelligentsia, 
without the work of whose leaders — Purishkevich, 
Miliukov, Rodzianko, and Alexeiev prominent among 
them — it would have been impossible. Its object was 
to free the nation from treachery in high places, to 
win the War, to develop the beneficent social and 

ei 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

economic evolution of the country, to secure freedom, 
equality before the law, redistribution of the land, 
and representative government. These aims, hard 
of accomplishment as they would have been in any 
circumstances, were frustrated from the first by the 
lack of organisation among the educated classes, and 
by the agitation of the Bolsheviks and their many 
sympathisers among other Socialist groups. EmigrSs 
swarmed back into the country primed with German 
gold and German instructions ; but the Old Guard of 
revolution, patriots of Russian blood like Burtsev, 
Plehanov, Kropotkin, were cold-shouldered, derided, 
and finally ousted, imprisoned, or killed. At the 
beginning of the War, the editor of a Petrograd 
paper detained in Berlin said to his German acquain- 
tances, " You can't hope to conquer Russia with her 
millions and her immense distances," — " No." — 
" What do you count on, then ? " — '' A revolution." 
The revolution on which they counted and which 
they achieved was the October revolution that put 
the emissaries of Germany into office and handed 
Russia definitely over to be dismembered by 
foreigners. The spell these cast on the densely 
ignorant masses was the watchword of dictatorship 
by the working class, but in nine months their rule 
has sunk from even this restricted ideal to be the 
unblushing tyranny of a group of ruthless men, 
exercising power against the interests of their usurped 
country, and solely supported by foreign force. 

62 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

When Mr. Alfred Gardiner writes in the Daily News 
(quoted in the News of the Executive Committee of 
the Council, telegram from London, July 11, 1918) : 
'' If the Conciliar Government maintains its position, 
relying upon the people, we shall have to count with 
it and to respect the will of the Russian people," he 
makes himself ridiculous to all who know the facts. 
Without their Lettish troops, German backing, and 
sole possession of the armoury, the Bolshevik Govern- 
ment would be swept away in a week. The Red 
Army, with its pound and a half of bread per day, 
its ten pounds of flour and seven pounds of sugar 
per month, and its seven hundred and fifty roubles ^ 
per month for each man and all found, would quickly 
melt. Its main use is to check discontent among the 
workless by affording them luxury without exertion ; 
it was recently referred to by a military " Com- 
missar " on the German Front with equable scorn as 
" dieses Lumpenproletariat." But so long as Lenin, 
Trotsky, and their gang control the entire apparatus 
of State, and mercilessly execute all who are opposed 
to them, they will remain in power until they are 
overset by Germany or the Allies, or can no longer 
pay the piper. They are here, as all understand, on 
tolerance. When they cease to be useful to German 
policy they will vanish as swiftly as spirits of hell at 
cockcrow. With an effort of will on our side, at once 
brave and profitable, the Allies, too, could rid Russia 
* For the married men. Bachelors received 15 Rs. a day. 

€8 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

of them, though less quickly, and lay the foundation 
of friendship by rebuilding the Eastern Front. 
Without help from outside the end will not come soon. 
Meanwhile they call the tune. They have gone for- 
ward over the ruins of the Cadets, of the Menshevik 
Social Democrats, of both wings of the Social Revolu- 
tionaries, and of the Anarchists, and it must be 
thought doubtful that General Alexeiev can rout them 
even with the help of the Czecho-Slovaks, if Russia's 
greater Allies hold aloof in misgiving, divided 
counsels, and incapacity to gauge the situation. 

According to common talk, the Allies' view is that 
they must not act until the Russian people have acted. 
Regeneration, it is said, must come from withm. This 
line of policy, if adhered to, can only be ruinous to 
ourselves. For what is the essence of the Bolshevik 
power? What lies underneath the understanding* 
between Comrade Lenin and the Imperial German 
Government ? The answer is simple. The only real 
opposition to German ambition in Russia, and still 
more the only comprehension of what that ambition 
means to Russia, is in the small educated upper class. 

There are among it also marked Germanophile 
tendencies, but more hostility to the crafty and over- 
bearing Western neighbour. There was also high 
belief in the capability of the Allies and hope that 
the War would free Russia from evil influences. 
Therefore the object of Germany is to crush the 
spirit of this class, to destroy its leaders, and to 

64 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

render life so unbearable to the remainder that they 
will repent the error of their ways and welcome the 
Germans as saviours from a worse state. It is this 
class alone that can be held to speak with the voice of 
true Russia, and for the plans of Germany it is 
essential that Russia should have no voice and no 
will. The uneducated, untrained, uncomprehending 
millions, removed but one generation from the servi- 
tude of ages, may in detail hate the German when he 
is in their midst and has his heel on their necks, but 
cannot beforehand form a mental picture of what 
their case would be, those plans once accomplished, 
or apprehend their further effects. From them no 
regenerating movement, save after very long ex- 
perience, can be hoped. On the other side, apart 
from material inducements offered by Germany to 
the exiles whom she rushed back in special trains after 
the revolution, the latter are possessed of an abiding 
hatred for the Russian intelligentsia, as representa- 
tives of Slavonic Orthodoxy from which they suffered. 
And if you wrong us shall we not revenge ? The Rus- 
sian educated class, together with the patriotic sons of 
Russia in their midst from among the Jewish, 
Georgian, Armenian, and other nations, are suffering 
for the misdeeds of the autocracy, to which they were 
indeed, until recently, often far too lenient. Another 
yet simpler motive exists. Those upon whom the 
complex European situation has thrust greatness will 
not willingly surrender it. It is their day. Theirs are 

65 F 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



the sweets of power, the spoils of office. Formerly 
they lived in cheap furnished lodgings and took penny 
tram rides. Now palaces are at their disposal, 
exquisite villas, lordly motor-cars, guards to shoot 
down their critics, and not a mouse stirring without 
their leave. 

For every reason — ambition, politics, purse, 
revenge, service to their paymasters — the Bolsheviks 
must compass the suppression of the educated classes. 
To that end every form of excellence is banned. In 
the army, since early spring, all orders and badges of 
merit have been abolished, so that it is impossible to 
tell a soldier on duty from a robber, and good marks 
in the schools; where, moreover, religious teaching 
has not only been removed from the curriculum, but 
prohibited to be given even voluntarily. In the 
Gymnasia, which correspond to our Public Schools, 
the masters are to be elected by the boys, and the 
governing council will consist of two elected masters 
and two hall-porters, who as representatives of the 
working class will naturally have the pull. The mask 
of democratic endeavour that once barely concealed 
the leer of triumphant tyranny is now flung aside 
with contemptuous indifference. " We are the repre- 
sentatives of organised terror," declared ^ the president 
of the Extraordinary Commission for Struggle with 
the Counter-revolution — " this must be said plainly — 
a terror that is absolutely necessary in the conditions 
' Novaya Jizn, July 8, 1918. 
66 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

of the revolutionary time we are living through. Our 
duty is to struggle with the foes of the Conciliar 
power and of the new order of life. Such are our 
political opponents, as well as all the bandits, 
sharpers, speculators, and other criminals who under- 
mine the foundations of the Socialist power. 
Towards them we know no mercy. We terrorise the 
enemies of the Conciliar power, so as to stifle crime in 
its root." And so it is. Men are arrested on the 
slightest evidence, or none, and taken, in Petrograd, 
to the building of the former Prefecture, in Moscow, 
to the premises of a once flourishing insurance com- 
pany, converted for the purpose. Here they may 
wait for days or weeks in foul circumstances, without 
any charge being preferred against them. Many 
there are who never taste the fresh air again, but are 
shot at night, untried, uncondemned, impossible to 
trace. The same thing is repeated within the walls of 
the local " commissariats," and the Kremlin itself, 
turned into a fortress for the safeguard of the masters, 
has earned a horrible reputation in this respect. 
The murderers of the French Revolution had at least 
the courage of their deeds. They killed publicly, 
and after trial that, indeed, dealt out a mockery of 
justice, but was yet open and known. Those of the 
Bolsheviks kill in secret, by night, anonymously. 
There is this, too, that the worst deeds of the French 
Revolution were inspired by a fervour of patriotism 
that knew itself betrayed and hunted. Now terror 

67 F 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

is used to break the last defences of love of country, 
and to assist the enemy. To make the point clear 
we need only compare the execution of Louis the Six- 
teenth with the murder of Nicolas the Second. 
Louis was tried, accused, defended, his fate was voted 
by an assembly of the people, and he was beheaded 
in an open place, where all might see and all must 
take their share of responsibility. Nicolas was shot 
without accusation or defence, without any public 
act save a resolution by a committee of provincial 
usurpers. The former deed may have been unjust 
and criminal, but it was an execution; the latter a 
cowardly butchery. It is even possible that the 
ex-Emperor was murdered at the beginning of the last 
week in June, when the report of his death was 
current, that it was denied at the time and only 
acknowledged nearly a month later to suit the 
convenience of the Council. 

If another authoritative interpreter of Bolshevik 
policy be needed we may turn again to Trotsky. 
" First," he declared in a speech to the Congress of 
Councils on June 29, '' the bourgeoisie shall be placed 
upon the register, then it shall be held in a vice." 
To understand this it must be remembered that a 
bourgeoisie in the proper sense, the solid, middle- 
class commercial ,man, or the petit rentier, hardly 
exists in Russia, and when the term is thus used it 
means the whole of the educated class, with the 
addition of anyone else who is against the Bolsheviks. 

68 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

'' For several hundred years," continued Trotsky, 
" the working class has cleaned up the dirt of the 
bourgeoisie. Now we will force the bourgeoisie to 
clean up our dirt ! The bourgeoisie, it seems, has 
begun to raise its head too high; we will crush it 
down to the earth ! We will put the bourgeoisie in 
such conditions that it will lose all wish to be bour- 
geoisie ! (Loud applause.) Every bourgeois house 
must be marked. On the gates of every house where 
seven or eight bourgeois families live must be hung 
yellow tickets. Let the workmen see to it that they 
grip the bourgeoisie in the pincers ! " The yellow 
ticket, it will be observed, was the licence issued in 
the old days by the police to women in registered 
houses of call. After this it is not surprising that in 
an official document Trotsky, with elegant simplicity, 
terms the Russian officers in the Czecho-Slovak forces 
*' prostitutes." A special corps of guards is being 
formed to weed out counter-revolution in the 
provinces, and the following have solemnly been 
declared by the recent Conference of Extraordinary 
Commissions from all over Russia to be counter- 
revolutionary : officers, monarchists, the clergy, the 
Cadets, the Minimalist Social Democrats, the 
'' Right " Social Revolutionaries, Anarchists, all 
national organisations, professional unions, house 
committees, and charitable organisations. To these 
the new corps is to turn its special attention. Even 
so, in days gone by, the gendarme corps persecuted 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

persons suspected of progressive leanings, and among 
the Bolshevik agents, both in the capitals and in the 
provinces, are in fact many ex-gendarme officers and 
former agents of the secret police. The amount of 
the fines levied upon the Press of Moscow in the month 
of May alone is reckoned to be more than that during 
the whole of Stolypin's ministry throughout Russia. 
Former useful servants of the State — judges, officers, 
civil servants, bank officials — are driven to earn a 
livelihood as commission agents, cabdrivers, pianists 
at cinematograph shows, or street hawkers, and tEeir 
wives by singing at small cafes chantants or serving 
in teashops. There are those who utterly starve, 
as for instance the head of a large military hospital 
in Petrograd, a professor of medicine, who died after 
a nervous breakdown caused by malnutrition. The 
" bourgeoisie " are forced to dig graves for cholera 
cases, crowding the hospitals at the rate of some 
hundreds a day in Petrograd and Moscow, and to 
carry the bodies of the dead, while office work is per- 
formed by those who were orderlies, porters and 
cleaners. Sometimes the Council pushes its cam- 
paign against the intelligentsia to the point of ridicule. 
Thus when too widespread discontent was raised not 
long since by searches for food in numerous flats in 
Moscow, the Council reassured the lower classes by a 
proclamation to the effect that this measure was 
directed, not against the starving and downtrodden 
workmen, but against the bloated and tyrannical 

70 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

bourgeoisie : a statement greeted by frank laughter 
from peasants and sailors who buy gold ornaments 
and calmly give orders for a thousand roubles' worth 
of flowers, or furniture for ten thousand, and their 
wives fashion papers at twenty roubles the copy and 
plush at a hundred roubles the metre, while many 
of the once rich can only exist by selling their posses- 
sions to brocanteurs. As a fact of minor interest, 
it may be noted that a parcel of 20,000 French fashion 
papers was destroyed by " the Comrades " in the 
post, so as to prevent the bourgeoisie from dressing 
too well; but German substitutes, sometimes 
fraudulently passing themselves off as the genuine 
Parisian article, are sold everywhere. 

It is hard to describe and would be impossible to 
exaggerate the pall-like blight that creeps over every 
department of Russian cultured life. To take the 
railways, a journey from one place to another 
requires days of preparation and troublesome appli- 
cation to three or four authorities for permits of 
various kinds. First- and second-class coaches have 
been restored on some lines and better order is main- 
tained than in the spring. On the other hand, on 
the line between Petrograd and Moscow, the best in 
Russia, only four trains a day are run at passenger 
speed; the rest all go as goods trains. In 1914, the 
railways gave a profit of 1,700,000 Rs. ; in 1915, 
1,400,000 Rs. ; in 1916, 1,200,000 Rs. ; in 1917, a loss 
of two million roubles, and this figure is sure to be 

71 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

far surpassed in the current year. No one who has 
not travelled in Russia this summer can imagine the 
degree of filth and chaos obtaining, especially south 
of Moscow. At the same time, every possible ob- 
struction is put in the way of travellers; an insuffi- 
cient amount of luggage is permitted, luggage is 
liable to be searched and detained for days by 
authority of any local Council of Deputies, and 
scarcely any town of importance can be entered 
without special permission. To get to Harkov, 
besides Bolshevik papers, a pass from the German 
Embassy is required, and issued only on the certi- 
ficate of two known German residents of Moscow. 
The post is as bad as ever. The telegraph works 
more quickly owing to the death of commerce and 
consequent reduction in the number of messages 
sent, but on July 20 the following places were out 
of reach of the telegraph from Moscow : Archangel, 
Vologda, Yaroslavl, Murman, Siberia, Samara, Tiflis, 
Baku, Ekaterinodar, Rostov, the Ukraine, as well, 
of course, as the districts of Great Russia occupied 
by the enemy. Up to now the German conquests 
have cost Russia 780,000 square kilometres of terri- 
tory, 46 millions of population, 37 per cent, of her 
harvest, 26 per cent, of the railway system, 280 
sugar factories, 918 tobacco factories, 1,681 dis- 
tilleries, 244 chemical, 615 paper and 1,073 textile 
factories. The order of the day is the ** nationalisa- 
tion " of everything, and on everything it has the 

72 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

same effect. The banking system is ruined. In- 
formation is impossible to obtain as to the state of 
accounts, books have often been lost, remittances 
from one place to another cannot be made, and one 
transfer for which permission was by exception 
obtained took from November to June to be effected. 
The current accounts at the People's Bank, on which 
it is now possible to draw without leave being ob- 
tained each time from a hierarchy of Conciliar 
institutions, are regarded by business men as the 
grave of money. Huge sums of paper money are 
therefore kept in private residences and offices, which 
affords rich reward to housebreakers, and intensifies 
the difficulties of the currency. In industry and 
commerce, '• nationalisation " spells dislocation and 
starvation. Little by comparison as remains to 
Conciliar Russia of productive land, the central dis- 
tricts are still brimming with food. But it is 
impossible to obtain, as there is a fixed price for all 
products at which it is unprofitable to sell, and those 
sold at higher prices or transported by private dealers 
are liable to confiscation. " Bread by force " is the 
new battle-cry; which means that detachments are 
sent into the corn-bearing districts to requisition 
grain with the aid of machine-guns. Bloody fights 
take place, for the peasants returning from the army 
provided themselves, too, with machine-guns and have 
large stores of bombs and rifles; the "supply 
detachments," as they are called, moreover, terrorise 

73 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

the railway servants, further disorganise transport, 
and themselves seize food wagons destined for the 
towns they were sent out to succour. Moscow barely 
supports itself on bread at 8-9 roubles, and flour at 
10 roubles per lb., brought in by smugglers who run 
the gauntlet of machine-gun fire turned on to sus- 
pected trains, and have liberally to grease the Com- 
rades' palms. Petrograd, easier for the Red Guards 
to watch, and further from plenty, starves. Rye 
flour costs 15 roubles per lb., potatoes 4-9 roubles, 
grey bread 12-22 roubles, and cauliflowers 4-6 
roubles per head, butter 19 roubles per lb., eggs 
18 roubles for ten. The remains of the textile trade 
have just received a staggering blow with the sealing- 
up of eighteen hundred wholesale stores in Moscow 
and all the retail establishments in Petrograd; and 
the question is whether the contents shall be credited 
to their owners in accounts compulsorily opened at 
the People's Bank, or sequestrated outright. Books 
can hardly be printed, so great is the expense, the 
commonest alphabet costs three roubles, and now all 
libraries are to be nationalised. Soap and tinned 
foods have recently been added to the long list of 
goods obtainable only " by card." As there are huge 
stocks of these articles, the only result is to encourage 
illicit dealing at immensely enhanced prices. There 
is scarcely a man, woman, or child who does not 
attempt to speculate in something. Bribery is ram- 
pant, the luxury among speculators — who know that 

74 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

their time may be short and that the paper money 
will fall still further in value — revolting, and a 
general low moral tone prevails. Instead of the most 
elementary reasonable measures being taken to 
ensure regularity of production and supply, we have 
" the struggle with hunger," and " the struggle with 
want of work," evils loudly proclaimed by Lenin as 
due to the malice of the educated classes, and now 
** the struggle with cholera." ''At last," said a 
railway guard, one of a class who peculiarly feel the 
bitterness of the situation, a class to whom a tribute of 
praise is due for hard work and constant endeavour, 
" at last they have an enemy they can't put down 
with machine-guns." 

In all this there is much simple stupidity. Russian 
public opinion is singularly uneducated in economics, 
and is in the state of believing that when one man 
gets rich another must get poorer. This is especially 
true of the Socialists, to whom the antiquated Karl 
Marx is a god, while the Bolsheviks believe that force 
and noise can accomplish everything. But there is 
also a bottom of calculation in their brutal idiocy. 
For it is necessary to keep up a state of acute dis- 
comfort, in order to attribute it to the bourgeoisie 
and the counter-revolutionaries, and so further in- 
cense the ignorant against the educated. It is also 
necessary to prevent the beginnings of ordered life 
and settled prosperity, in order that German industry 
may hereafter be without a shadow of competition 

75 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

in Russia, and that German policy may have a 
pretext for a move eastwards and find an excuse and 
a welcome. And the road on which Russia has 
started is one on which there is no stopping. The 
trend of the Bolsheviks' policy takes them ever lower, 
to yet greater extremes. In the government of 
Voronesh all their crops have been seized from the 
upper-class proprietors " for the benefit of the Con- 
ciliar republic " ; in other words, for the enrichment 
of the local Bolsheviks or to be held in trust for the 
Germans. But now uneasiness is growing among the 
peasant proprietors. They have taken the land and 
stock of the former landlords, and only wish to be 
left in enjoyment. They anxiously ask visitors if it 
is not possible to get " a paper " that will confirm 
their title against newcomers, and there are many 
inquiries as to when a Tsar will reign again, to give 
peace and order. The Council's influence, on 
information received from the governments of Mos- 
cow and Novgorod, is coming to be based on the 
idle and dissipated among the peasants, who are 
averse to seeing a strong class grow up in their 
midst, and prevent the industrious from sowing and 
tilling to their advantage. In the Saratov district, 
the attitude of the peasants is hostile to the Red 
Army and Red Guards, who are frequently murdered 
and thrown into the Volga. In the towns, the Bol- 
sheviks' supporters are markedly different from the 
old soldiers of the days after the revolution. These 

76 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 

had a look of settled gloom which Russian psycho- 
logists maintain was the peasant's expression of 
contempt for others and of his own superiority. But 
the Bolshevik myrmidons are frankly overbearing. 
The natural blackguard or brute that is in every man 
rises in them to the top. Here is no idealism in the 
faces — only greed and lust of power. Idealism is in 
the faces of the sufferers, of the weak, the hungry, 
those infinitely pathetic figures of wounded officers 
who sell bootlaces and matches at the street corner. 
The atmosphere is worse than that of foreign con- 
quest : it is anarchy, crystallised by party discipline, 
into which no sense of public duty enters, but only 
a base triumph over vanquished superiors, and it is 
impossible not to be reminded of Mr. Wells ^s terrible 
fantasy, '' The Island of Dr. Moreau," for the beast 
is regaining the uppermost in man. 

Hotels in the best situations have mostly been 
seized by the Bolsheviks, or at all events their best 
rooms requisitioned. In the provinces they are 
reduced to an immediate condition of filth and dilapi- 
dation, and if in the capitals they do not fall so 
low, yet rapid wear and tear goes on, for which, of 
course, they will not pay. Others are sometimes 
seized by the staff, who term themselves '' a working 
group," and as they are quite without capital the 
deterioration must be swift. Pauper tenants thus 
also expropriate houses or flats under cover of the 
word '' commune." The theatre, the one sphere of 

77 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

activity where work has been up to now more or less 
normal, feels the hand stretched out over it. Many 
theatres have been requisitioned by local councils, 
demands are put forward for a " proletarian reper- 
tory," and it has been proposed, in a violent attack 
made in the News of the Council on Chaliapine ', to 
socialise actors. Similarly, in various places it has 
been proposed to " socialise " women between 18 
and 40 years; in other words, to enact compulsory 
prostitution. In everything Russia is living upon 
the remains of her past ; nothing new is created, but 
habits of idleness and dishonesty become indelible, 
and smartness is observable only in the brand-new 
uniforms of so-called prisoners of war, both Austrian 
and German, strolling freely in the streets of Moscow 
and Petrograd. In the former city there are be- 
lieved to be some thirty thousand. Russians, having 
this spectacle before their eyes, seeing too the com- 
mercial greed that is an extra motive in the suppres- 
sion of the independent Press, and the daily incite- 
ment of the lower classes in papers such as Poverty, 
where it was written : " Nicolas the Second has 
come to a satisfactory end," may be pardoned for 
giving way to despair and nausea. 

" How I hate your intelligentsia,^^ said an educated 
workman to a lady. " Why ? " she asked. " Be- 

1 Chaliapine has since this was written come to heel, and is 
credited with having received 60,000 Rs. a month during last 
winter, for singing in Conciliar halls. 

78 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 



cause," was the startling answer, " because of their 
meekness ! Why are they so Christian ? Why can- 
not they hate ? They make me sick with their 
fraternity. A student came to us the other day and 
preached that we are all brothers and must live in 
peace. How can a man of sense say that he — or 
that we — must be brothers with all this canaille ? " 

The intelligentsia know this perfectly. They made 
their mistakes throughout the months following the 
revolution, until Kerensky finally gave up the key 
of the fortress to the enemy. Then, beaten, down- 
trodden, sneered at, in the bitterness of failure and 
repentance they looked to the Allies to help Russia 
and help themselves, to the Allies whom they had 
never betrayed, but had seen betrayed by common 
foes. But the Allies came not, and even now, when 
they are in the land, they are yet so distant and hold 
themselves so aloof that the hand stretched out 
barely feels an answering touch. We are in the 
eleventh hour; a few more minutes, and it may be 
too late. Already the Cadets, who were our best 
friends, are reported from Kiev to have gone over, 
driven in disgust at our shilly-shallying, to the Ger- 
man camp. A special set is made against the officers, 
who almost to a man were pro- Ally. It is not 
without significance that Captain Shchasny, who 
piloted part of the Baltic fleet away from Finland 
before the Germans could take it, was shot on a 
frivolous pretext on the very day that the remains 

79 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

of the Black Sea fleet was handed over to them by 
Lenin. In Moscow and Petrograd the German 
orientation spreads in circles of which the growth is 
visible almost from day to day. The organisation 
of the Red Cross, where sympathy with the Allies 
was of much value in the past, has been captured; 
its stores have been confiscated, its former staff dis- 
missed, and it may soon be wholly abolished, for the 
benefit of foreign speculators who are hovering 
around the remains of its great medical supplies. 
The Unions of Zemstvos and Towns have suffered the 
same fate. Those who were once with us heart and 
soul are daily forced to leave our side. The force 
against us is not love for Germany, but hunger and 
misgovernment. Even now not only men but horses 
may frequently be seen to fall in the street from 
exhaustion. Hawks come marauding to the very 
centre of Moscow, wheeling scarcely above the house- 
tops. This is hunger, stark hunger; but come next 
February and there will be starvation. And those 
who are here know that in the Ukraine, for all the 
German requisitions, is plenty and order despite 
severity; and they know that disorder and want in 
Great Russia are artificial. If the Allies will not 
help, they must take help from the enemy or perish 
utterly. Above all, they do not understand the 
American attitude ; they see that help does not come 
from the east, and attribute it to pro-German in- 
fluence in the United States. They have never heard 

80 



BEHIND THE VEIL IN MOSCOW 



of Grant's " Fight it out on this line if it takes all 
summer," and do not know that the mistake of the 
mighty Lee's opponent is being repeated on the 
Western Front, but they do know that to win the 
War and not lose its results the Allies must win 
Russia. And they are right. Now or later to drive 
home our victory the Russian front must be re- 
established. We let pass the magic chance of the 
rising at Yaroslavl, that would have helped us to all 
the north, to the Volga, and the entire line to 
Siberia. When shall we have such another? 



81 G 



CHAPTER IV 

RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

The tragic end of that phase of the War which at 
the beginning of the year 1918 robbed Russia of her 
fairest city, her richest provinces, and the beneficent 
conquests of Catherine the Great, was the result of two 
causes : the Ukrainian movement in Little Russia 
itself and the Socialist propaganda in the capital and 
among the troops on the front. It was a reproach 
justly made against Stolypin that his motto, ** Order 
first, then reform," was a cloak for the repression of 
all liberalism; but despite the many crimes and 
cruelties of which he was guilty, he was, according to 
his own light, a patriot. Time has proved the truth 
of the charge levelled by him against the Socialists — 
" The difference be'tween us is that I wish to see Russia 
great : you wish to see her small." The agitation they 
carried on throughout the summer and autumn of 
1917, if not solely organised and managed in German 
interests, was, at all events, entirely against those of 
Russia, from the original ''Order No. I." issued by 
Kerensky and others that destroyed discipline in the 

82 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 



army to the formula of Trotsky-Bronstein, " We 
shall not fight, but we will not conclude peace," that 
gave Germany all the north up to the gates of Petro- 
grad, and the two capitals, had it suited her conve- 
nience to take them. Without the disintegration of 
the might of Russia, the Ukrainian movement would 
not have had strength to bear its fruit. Without the 
treacherous work that had for long gone forward in 
Little Russia, natural forces might have been found 
there to resist the enemy even when the front lay 
open to him. So rapid and widespread was the success 
of the German general plan, that few can have been 
found beforehand even to believe it possible; but the 
intrigue of the enemy at Kiev was visible to observers 
from the beginning of the war. Indeed, the ground 
had been prepared from long ago. As a national 
movement, Ukrainianism was and still remains a 
failure. The so-called Ukrainian, or Little Russian, 
language is recognised as an inferior tongue to Russian 
and Pohsh; except for the poetry of Shevchenko, it 
has an insignificant literature, and the great ornament 
of letters who arose in the south, Gogol, wrote exclu- 
sively in Russian. 

The Ukraine, indeed, has claims to be considered 
more truly Russian thain %he vast expanse of the 
north and east. Before the sons of Rurik had estab- 
lished their principalities, the beginnings of civilisa- 
tion had shown themselves in the south. It was Kiev 
that gave Christianity to Russia, and throughout the 

88 G 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



long oppression of Muscovy by the Tartars the 
Ukraine preserved a purer strain of Slavonic blood and 
aspiration. Later in the seventeenth century the 
ecclesiastical academy of Kiev, where the teaching was 
in Old Slavonic, became renowned as a centre of learn- 
ing. While the older memorials of ecclesiastical art 
in Kiev are among the most prized in the Orthodox 
Church, in modern times the architecture and adorn- 
ment of the cathedral of St. Vlkdimir touches the 
highest point of Eastern Church art. Nor is Kiev 
behindhand on the civil side, being the best paved, 
best lighted city of Russia, one of the cleanest and 
least unsanitary, and equipped with an excellent water 
supply from artesian wells. In religion, art, litera- 
ture, the mental nourishment of Little Russia in our 
age differs no whit from that of Petrograd or Moscow. 
Breton differs from Tourangean more than a man of 
Jitomlr from one of Tula. Quicker in intelligence 
than the Great Russian, livelier in imagination, born 
under a warmer sun and blest with a more generous 
earth, the Little Russian is still unmistakably his 
brother by race and by civilisation. It is true that on 
the borders of Galicia and of Poland, where the Uniate 
religion flourished, the Imperial Government com- 
mitted the grave political fault of allowing a persecu- 
tion of it by Orthodox prelates. Similar iniquities, 
both ecclesiastical and civil, were committed during 
the war in Galicia, where the names of Bishop Yevlogy 
and Skalon, the prefect of police imposed on Lwow, 

84 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 



became notorious. But it would be an error to believe 
that Little Russia suffered from special national dis- 
abilities. The repression of liberalism, the persecu- 
tion of the Jews, that took place there, were common 
to the whole of Russia. Regarded as a national entity, 
the Ukraine is a legend or a dream. 

From the point of view, however, of the Austro- 
Germans, with one eye fixed on the Caucasus and 
Persia, the Ukrainian possibilities were not to be 
neglected. While in Galicia every manifestation of a 
leaning towards Russia, the natural parent of forty 
per cent, of the population, was severely punished by 
an active police, and the very possession of works by 
Pushkin and Turgenev served as a cause for imprison- 
ment, at Kiev a separatist movement was artificially 
fostered and Russia represented as a brutal oppressor, 
trampling on the liberties of the children of Mazeppa. 
The various leavens of discontent were worked up into 
an inchoate party termed Mazeppists, in whose ranks 
the influence of the Austrian "orientalism," common 
among the Galician Poles, was plainly visible. The 
Mazeppists were inevitably against a war, the success- 
ful issue of which must draw closer together the races 
of the Russian empire and by liberalising its institu- 
tions remove still further the shadow of particular 
grievances in Little Russia. Thus while in the north 
the pro-Germans were the reactionaries, who hated 
freedom, in the south they were the nationalists, who 
professed to serve at its altar. If it is considered that 

85 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



Kiev was a focus also of Polish and of Jewish interest, 
it will be seen that the enemy had a fine water in 
which to fish, and by the summer of 1915 it was already 
seething with trouble. With the revolution, the scum 
soon burst. The Mazeppists, loudly proclaiming their 
pure national principles, were encouraged by the Gov- 
ernment of Kerensky and Tereshchenko to abandon as 
quickly as possible the advantages that gave Kiev its 
right to be called '' the mother of the cities of Russia." 
Absurd claims were put forward, as, for instance, to 
include Odessa in the Ukraine. ** Ukrainianisation " 
proceeded apace throughout the south, to the disgust 
of large classes of the population. Anyone who ob- 
jected was marked as a counter-revolutionary. 
Schoolmasters, not of Ukrainian extraction, were 
ejected in favour of such as could talk Little Russian, 
but as there are few books printed in that language 
and it is useless in business or for the general purposes 
of life outside the Ukrainian provinces and hardly more 
useful in them, these steps aroused little enthusiasm. 
Articles in Ukrainophil papers published in Kiev, 
denouncing the use of the Russian tongue, lost their 
sting by being themselves written in Russian, since the 
Ukrainian language did not count enough adepts to 
support a newspaper. Even in 1918 lectures at the 
university of Kiev were delivered in Russian, and 
Russian remains the language in common use, despite 
the efforts of successive local governments to compel 
that of " Ukrainian " and the adoption of the latter as 

86 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

the official tongue in Government institutions. In 
the primary schools, parents refused to allow their 
children to be taught in Ukrainian, and the attempt to 
force it on them had to be abandoned. Nor was the 
attempt to impose it in the provincial courts more 
successful, since neither judges, lawyers, nor clients 
were conversant with it. By this it may be seen that 
the opposition to Russian in the Ukraine is about as 
national as the Ukrainian paper money, which was 
printed at Leipzig.^ 

Far as matters had gone, so long, however, as the 
army remained even more or less in existence, the 
*' General Secretariat," by which name the quasi- 
parliamentary government at Kiev was known, was 
powerless to act independently in foreign affairs. The 
catastrophe of Tarnopol, engineered by the Bolsheviks 
and constituting a direct threat to Kiev, was in part 
corrected by the energy of General Kornilov ; but when, 
under the inspiration of Nekrasov and the disloyal 
clique in his Ministry, Kerensky threw over Kornilov, 
the way was free for traitors to complete the rot that 
had already eaten deep into the organism of the army. 
Its destruction once achieved, by the October revolu- 
tion and the demobilisation, the picture changed. The 
Bolsheviks having done their chief work for Germany, 
woke up to find that they had lost their hold on the 
south. The slaughter of over two thousand officers at 

1 The artificial Ukrainian propaganda was carried into 
Western Europe by a journal entitled Wkraine. 

87 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



Kiev, the murder of the upright and godly Metro- 
politan, the indiscriminate massacre of the " bour- 
geois " at Sebastopol, the methods, in fact, of 
Schrecklichkeit borrowed from Germany, that had 
sufficed when hordes of armed workmen, backed by 
heavy guns, harried the cities of Little Russia, availed 
little when disciplined foreign troops came against 
them. The resistance offered by the '^Conciliar" 
armies, as the highly-paid Praetorians of the 
"Council of the People's Commissioners " are styled, 
was either puerile or fictitious. Men who enlisted in 
order to get thirty roubles a day were none too anxious 
to. risk their skins, while the Lettish Rifles, to whom 
it is said that a bonus of fifty thousand roubles a man 
was promised, were kept as a bodyguard to the Coun- 
cil in Moscow and Petrograd. The relative slowness 
of the German advance to the north and east, which 
in the spring of 1918 seized Harkov and crept onwards 
to Voronesh and Kursk, was due to their being 
occupied elsewhere, or to other considerations of 
convenience. 

It was before Christmas, 1917, that the Ukrainian 
movement touched its apogee. The Governments of 
Prince Lvov and of Kerensky had been too weak, and 
the latter moreover unwilling, to control the sep- 
aratist intrigue at Kiev, and the Bolsheviks, incensed 
at the rejection of their authority, had not yet quite 
succeeded in dissolving, by means of their powerful 
propaganda, \he army of the south-western front, in 

88 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

the face of which, if it stood up to them, their forces 
were impotent. The situation was extremely compli- 
cated. So long as the army was in being the 
Ukrainians could not split off from Russia on the 
Austrophil basis of their predilection, but were safe 
from being over-run by the Bolsheviks. The latter, 
unable to master the Ukraine, could still threaten it, 
and were protected against the summons of German 
troops to aid the new republic, denounced as " bour- 
geois " and capitalist by " the Workmen's and 
Peasants' Government " in Petrograd. After a short 
period, during which the General Secretariat lorded it 
with the majesty of a serious Government, the Bol- 
sheviks destroyed the forces at the disposal of the 
Ukraine by ceaseless fomentation of class hatred ; 
and this gave them the key to Kiev. But the process 
of which this was a part obliterated the front in its 
entirety, dissolved the barrier between the Ukraine 
and Austria, and laid open the Bolsheviks to the 
advance of real soldiers summoned thence, who 
promptly evicted them from Kiev and from all Little 
Russia. 

The motives of the Bolsheviks were too mixed, and, 
it should be added, the intelligence of many of them 
too primitive, to allow of their success. They wanted 
at once to conclude a peace in favour of Germany, 
not to give independence to Finland, concerning whose 
rights they formerly made much noise, to keep the 
Ukraine for themselves, and to create a revolution in 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



Germany — to say nothing of England, whither 
Kerensky, too, was on the point of dispatching propa- 
gandist emissaries when overthrown by the Bolsheviks. 
The latter had not apparently reckoned -svith the 
possibility that the Ukrainians would step into the 
arms of Germany to save themselves from the social 
revolution offered them at the bayonet point by the 
Council. When this happened, the latter was power- 
less. This, at least, is the surface view. On the 
Council there were wheels within wheels. Its 
managers must not be assumed to have experienced 
the surprise they expressed at each fresh move of the 
German. They believed that they could not indefi- 
nitely maintain their position in Russia unless a general 
European revolution came to their aid, and as the Im- 
perial German Government was resolute not to allow 
this to start at home, they accepted the directive of 
the Boche so as, in Lenin's phrase, to gain " a breath- 
ing space," after which further to prosecute their 
designs both within and without the land against 
capital and the educated classes. By attacking the 
latter with every means at their disposal and promis- 
ing a heaven upon earth to workman and peasant as 
the result of their campaign, they attained a virtual 
dictatorship. Whatever orders they gave were taken 
for the precepts of Socialism. Thus capital punish- 
ment and a standing army, formerly anathema, be- 
came part of the new gospel. Unfortunately, as 
practised by its exponents, the latter was hardly to be 

90 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

distinguished from a crowd of hooligans put into 
uniform, and the former from murder. While these 
measures were taken to bolster up the position of 
Lenin and Trotsky, the colossal defeats of Russia 
which they achieved in politics and battle came to 
the mass of her people through the prism of Socialism 
as efforts of a wicked international bourgeoisie to 
deprive them of what are called " the conquests of the 
revolution." The Bolsheviks could do no wrong, 
since whatever they did was justified by Socialist pro- 
fessions. Shingarov was murdered, Burtsev im- 
prisoned, a palace prepared for Count Mirbach, Sko- 
belev's statue destroyed : the Bolshevik popes 
remained infallible. The game they played on the front 
and in Finland gave the enemy all the heavy guns im- 
ported into Russia by the Allies, disarmed part of the 
Baltic fleet, compelled British submarines in Finnish 
harbours to be blown up, and enabled the Germans to 
loose a million men on our front in France, all without 
the expression of the least regret on the part of Rus- 
sian " Comrades." Yet the wrath of the rank and file 
among the Bolsheviks at the loss of the Ukraine 
may be thought to have been genuine. They cared 
nothing indeed that Germany had access to an almost 
inexhaustible source of supplies : they were too well 
parroted to the disadvantage of England, and too 
ignorant of political and economic science, to appre- 
hend what fatal results might fall on Russia ; but they 
cared much that they were cut off from the fount of 

91 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

plenty themselves. Petrograd, Moscow, and the 
northern governments could now no longer receive 
food from the South. They lost the corn, butter, 
tobacco and sugar of the Ukraine, fish and fruit from 
the Crimea, wine, olives, fruit and petroleum from the 
Caucasus, and when Krasnov's government, in touch 
with the Germans, took control further to the east, the 
corn, coal and iron of the Don. Since then, and 
until the criminal collapse of the French expedition at 
Odessa, they have had to rely on ports of the govern- 
ments of Kursk and Voronesh, on Tambov, Orel, and 
the Volga, and though this would have been amply 
sufficient to feed the north, crippled transport and the 
Bolsheviks' own system of starvation have prevented 
the produce obtained thence from being utilised for 
the benefit of the people. Moscow and Petrograd lost 
the whole of their southern market for manufactures. 
The industrial crisis, already acute, owing to stoppage 
of work in the factories, became rapidly exasperated, 
and every succeeding month showed with greater 
clearness that the Bolsheviks' criminality was only 
equalled by their ineptitude. From us they can claim 
neither sympathy nor respect. Their hands are 
stained with innocent blood, their hearts are black 
with treachery. They have reduced a country, great 
in potentiality, to anarchy. They have established a 
tyranny without example in modern history, since the 
goal of it is not patriotism, but its reverse. At the 
dictation of agents sent by the national enemy, they 

92 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

have not hesitated to sacrifice the honour and the 
security of Russia to a selfish class ideal which is the 
negation of the liberty that the revolution was made 
to achieve. There may among them be sincere 
dreamers of a social Utopia, but the majority of their 
managers are base adventurers or frankly brigands. 
Many are mere callow youths or schoolboys. They 
are greedy, corrupt, idle, ignorant, full of brutality 
and vanity, and signally incompetent. 

It is characteristic of the Germans' work in Russia 
that they did not rely on one means alone, but pro- 
ceeded from both ends of the political scale at once. 
Thus under the old rSgime they intrigued through the 
Suhomlinovs, Sturmers, and Protopopovs, to detach 
Russia from her Allies and to stalemate the war, and 
at the same time through sections of the Social Demo- 
cratic Party to overthrow the monarchy, foreseeing 
that with it the war and the military organisation of 
the country could be represented in an odious light to 
the densely ignorant soldiery. After the revolution, 
while labouring indefatigably to this end in Russia 
itself, they proceeded to play a similar double part in 
Finland. Here their agents in the Baltic fleet, among 
the "Red Guards," and doubtless in higher spheres, 
did everything possible to outrage Finnish national 
sentiment and to provoke a collision, while from Ger- 
many arms and money poured into the country to 
withstand claims that were no less arrogant and were 
assuredly worse based than those of the autocracy. 

98 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



Civil war restilting, the Germans stepped in and took 
control of the position. The same game was played 
in the Ukraine. On the one hand, the ideal of the 
Dictatorship of the Working Classes demanded that 
the new-born State be crushed which dared profess 
independence of the fashionable theories that progress 
is downwards and robbery an exercise of natural 
rights ; on the other, Ukrainian politicians with indus- 
trious humility made ready their necks for the 
Austrian yoke. It was typical that among the officers 
murdered at Kiev by the Bolsheviks was General 
Ivanov, formerly commander-in-chief of the South- 
western Front, a man who might have been dangerous 
to the Germans. The Teuton success in the south was 
even more brilliant than in Finland. Their hold 
became firmly established in every direction, political, 
military and economic, and they encircled luckless 
Roumania in an unbreakable ring. The saying, 
" You cannot have it both ways," was evidently not 
made in Germany. 

The fitful information that filtered across frontiers 
left intentionally undefined by the Germans showed 
that the Ukraine early began to suffer from a severe 
reaction caused by the pricking of the bubble. There 
is among the people a higher sense of patriotism than 
is common with the Great Russians, due perhaps in 
part to a more direct dislike of the enemy. He was 
always nearer to them. His brutality to their brothers 
in Galicia was intimately known through the sufferings 

94 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 



recounted by the refugees. Kiev, too, their capital, 
was the base of the South-western Front, the 
starting point for the troops, the clearing point for 
wounded and prisoners, all living evidences of the 
activity of the war ; and the war on the south-west was 
a successful war. The Little Russians could share to 
the full in the victories of Brusilov and Radko 
Dmitriev, and knew from eye-witnesses that their 
failures were not due to their own fault. Their sense 
of pride was not sufficient to prevent the destruction 
of the front by the Bolsheviks any more than better 
discipline and education could ultimately save the 
Cossacks from the general poison; and, moreover, 
large numbers of Little Russian troops were serving 
on the more distant Western Front. But it was the 
basis of the opposition to the Bolsheviks, and the 
material on which the Austrophil politicians worked. 
The people of Little Russia soon found they had been 
deceived. They were promised that a revolution in 
Austria would quickly follow the peace negotiations : 
they were forced to realise that the prospect of peace 
with Russia and of food from the L^kraine was, in 
fact, the chief weapon used to prevent a revolution. 
They were promised that thirty thousand troop% 
should come to their assistance against the Bolshe- 
viks ; they found that a vastly stronger garrison held 
the country, and that the Austrian troops first sent 
were replaced by Germans whose officers ruled the 
roost in Kiev with the usual chivalry of their kind. 

95 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

No word was said of the exaction of supplies ; but the 
peasants discovered that they must produce a stated 
quota of corn or have their villages bombarded by 
German artillery. A peasant congress at Elizabeth- 
grad was informed that the Ukraine, in return for 
German help, had promised to supply their new 
friends with twenty-four billion pounds of flour, a 
milliard eggs, eighty million pounds of sugar, and 
1,300,000 head of cattle before August 1, 1918. The 
Black Sea commercial fleet and the imprisoned enemy 
vessels fell to the conqueror as part of his booty, and 
the Ukraine, nominally extended to the sea, had 
access to the blue water only on sufferance. Small 
wonder that discontent grew apace with the results of 
a peace negotiated by a second-year student of the 
Kiev Polytechnic, and that the strongly anti-German 
clergy began to regain their shattered influence. Count 
Andre Szepticki, the Uniate Archbishop of Lwow, 
who after the Russian conquest of Galicia was sent 
into seclusion in a monastery to put a stop to his 
Austrophil intriguing, became a persona grata at 
Kiev; perhaps he now finds that he has backed the 
wrong horse. 

But if the Ukraine had reason to regret a bargain 
struck by treachery and bullying, what must be said 
of our position ? Germany gained a fount of supplies 
that could feed half the world, and despite difficulties 
and disappointments was soon getting a hundred 
trucks of food a day. Had she won the Ukraine earlier 

96 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

she would have won the War, for the whole work of 
the British blockade would have been stultified. In 
the government of Voronesh alone there were esti- 
mated to be stored five and a-half billion pounds of 
flour in the summer of 1918. There are parts where 
the 1915 harvest is believed to be unused. Even as it 
was, Germany gained a respite that enabled her to 
launch her last offensive against us. It was a victory 
for her worth a dozen Rigas, for us a defeat more 
crushing than any we have suffered since Ticonderoga. 
It was none the less a defeat because it was our 
diplomacy that went under, not our arms. 

The Allied diplomacy has been at fault in Russia 
since the moment before our going to war, when Sir 
George Buchanan's statement that Great Britain had 
no direct interests in the Balkans surprised Sazonov, 
and not him alone. Though, with intervals of lucidity, 
we have throughout used the wrong means, trusted 
the wrong people, patronised the wrong parties. Our 
representatives praised Protopopov; and their anti- 
Semitic opinions, while not winning the favour of the 
reactionaries at Court, yet alienated valuable sections 
of Russian society. They supported Gorky, who 
used the money he obtained to ruin the Allied cause in 
Russia. After the revolution, American money backed 
the newspaper of Breshko-Breshkovskaya, " the 
grandmother of the revolution," who, herself a simple- 
minded idealist, was made use of by Kerensky's party 
and kept by him as a sort of fetish in the Winter 

97 H 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Palace. The British Government sent Aladin, known 
to Russians as a Socialist of remarkably vacillating 
views, on a mysterious errand to the Russian General 
Headquarters. But the culminating blunders were 
when the Allies made protest, equally solemn and 
feeble, against the Bolshevik conclusion of an armis- 
tice, and when the French Government 'decided to give 
money and moral support to the Ukraine. On the 
former occasion, it was represented to the French Em- 
bassy from a highly competent source that the Allies 
had before them two alternatives compatible with the 
policy of the War. Either they might say to Russia : 
'^ We know you cannot continue to figfht. Make peace 
on terms favourable to yourselves ; we voluntarily re- 
lease you from engagements that have become too 
onerous for you to fulfil, but on one condition, that 
you shall not help the Germans. And as a guarantee 
two Allied army corps shall watch our interests with 
you." Thus they would have put Germany in a tight 
corner and rendered impossible the continuation of 
the anti-Ally campaign conducted by the SociaHsts on 
the ground that Russia was being dragged at the 
blood-stained wheels of the French and British 
chariots. Or they might immediately and strenu- 
ously act by force, from Archangel, Murman, and 
Vladivostok, when they would have been received 
with enthusiasm by a large body of Russian public 
opinion and might have succeeded in restoring the 
balance of the War on the Eastern Front. This repre- 

98 



RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE 

sentation was entirely just. In the event, the Allies 
adopted neither course, but made a protest loud in 
words, which, not being backed up by action, re- 
ceived the treatment of every empty boast and contri- 
buted to the murder of the luckless General Duhonin. 
The blunder of supporting the Ukrainian Government 
was surprising, because the French have at times 
shown a better comprehension of Russia than our- 
selves. It was the more inexcusable, because the 
main facts of the Ukrainian situation were well known 
and Russian patriots of unquestioned ability were at 
hand with information. But they were neglected, 
just as the warnings of competent Russian observers 
against the Bulgarian designs were neglected in 1915. 
The result was a further blow to the Allies' prestige, a 
fresh revelation of their incapacity to gauge events, 
and a position in which it was possible for German 
agents to spread the belief that British officers were 
advancing with the German and Ukrainian troops to 
put down the Government of the Council. 



99 H 2 



CHAPTER V 
COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 

What is a communist ? One who is willing to put down his 
penny and take up your shilling. 

So runs the old jingle, the truth of which is bril- 
liantly exemplified by the development of events in 
Russia, with the exception that the Russian " Com- 
rade," while taking up as many roubles as he can 
cram into his pocket, is resolute not to put down a 
single kopeck of his own. " La propriete, c'est le 
vol," gaily remarks Proudhon. The axiom has been 
bettered by the Neo-Israelitish Government imposed 
from Germany on the chief among Slavonic nations 
to mean that former proprietors may rightfully be 
robbed, but that the thieves shall maintain the 
transfer by the best argument possible — a repeating 
rifle perpetually at the ready. Tuum in their theory 
has been abolished, but meum is more strongly 
entrenched than ever, according to 

The good old rule, the ancient plan, 
That they shall take who have the power 
And he shall keep who can. 

100 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



Rifles are made to kill, say the instructions 
to the Red Army. Always have your rifle, or 
at least your revolver, with you and be ready 
to use it on the moment. Shoot to kill. 
Never shoot unless you mean to kill. On such 
simple principles is latter-day Russian Communism 
based. 

Communism in this new sense of the word may be 
said to have had its full chance in practice from the 
time of the murder of Count Mirbach at Moscow. 
It was then seen that the Bolsheviks, who had 
before that begun to call themselves the Communist 
Party, had no rival and could do as they pleased. 
They had no rival, not because their support among 
the nation was widespread or genuine, but because 
the only other party that had up to that time 
retained any pretension to existence, the Left Social 
Revolutionaries, showed that they neither had the 
moral stamina, nor controlled the physical force, 
further to carry on competition. The Bolsheviks 
feared the Left S-R.'s, as they were called, because 
it was believed that the latter could count on sub- 
stantial support among the troops. Their old 
exploits, moreover, in killing the Tsar's Ministers 
were remembered and supported a belief in their 
possessing large powers of secret organisation. There 
was friction, but fear of consequences prevented an 
open breach between the two parties. Matters 
might have gone on so indefinitely, had not the Left 

xox 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



S.R.'s themselves precipitated the crisis by assas- 
sinating the German Ambassador, 

This was an open challenge to the Bolsheviks. 
It was taken up at once by Trotsky, who declared 
that the murder was directed, not against Mirbach's 
Government, but against the existing rSgime in 
Russia. 

That the Germans practically owned the Conciliar 
Government was notorious, and to observers on the 
spot has only been illustrated by the publication of 
*" The German Bolshevik Conspiracy " by the 
American Committee on Public Information. 

The documents obtained by Mr. Sisson were not 
needed to prove a fact already patent. It will be a 
problem for historians to solve how the British and 
some of the American representatives in Moscow 
came in the earlier part of the summer of 1918 
warmly to favour the Bolsheviks and tried to obtain 
the recognition of their Government by the Allies as 
legitimate; Colonel Robins, of the American Red 
Cross, was especially ardent in this respect; but the 
Left S.R.'s, who had every reason to know, cherished 
no illusions as to the origin and policy of their leaders 
in the coach-team. They themselves deserved but 
little sympathy from civilised Europe, for they too 
were usurpers and murderers; but at least they 
stopped short of the complete treason to Russia that 
was the guiding star of Bolshevism. They contained 
a smaller Jewish element than the Social Democratic 

102 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



Party, and especially the Bolshevik wing of it. They 
were still lit by a hazy tradition of desire for the 
liberation of the people and the progress of the 
peasants. Deeply as they were implicated in the 
crimes of tyranny perpetrated by the Bolsheviks, 
from the beginning a largely preponderant force in 
the October revolution and the Conciliar Govern- 
ment, and stained with the blood of innumerable 
victims, especially in the south, where at Harkov 
Sablin and at Sebastopol Muraviev, their representa- 
tives, had raged with the fury of Attila, neverthe- 
less they shrank from the logical consequences of the 
movement they had helped to start, and revolted 
when their dull minds perceived the abyss of shame 
and ruin before their country. The revolt only 
showed their feebleness. The Bolsheviks, too, had a 
moment of weakness, but the Left S.R.'s were in- 
capable of seizing it. They were dispersed and 
destroyed without difficulty, Muraviev, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Conciliar forces committed 
suicide, and in his place the Bolsheviks nominated a 
Lett named Vatsatis, on whom they could rely. 

From that moment there has been no organised 
resistance to the Bolsheviks from within, for the 
reason that no one has had the possibility to organise. 
The railways, post, telegraph, telephone, the banks, 
all motor-cars and petrol, all arms and ammunition, 
the Press, and in the towns the food supply are in 
the hands of the Bolsheviks. Their power rests upon 

108 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



the employment of the Lettish rifles, who, in addi- 
tion to hating Russians, receive immense pay and 
privileges to ensure their fidelity. The Letts are re- 
inforced by Magyar and Chinese battalions, while 
the artillery of the " Red Army " is largely under 
the direction of German officers. At the same time 
hordes of spies are employed to hunt down opponents 
of the Conciliar Power, as the Government is grandi- 
loquently termed, and to nip in the bud any growing 
disturbance or to provoke it so that it may be dealt 
with before it is ripe. Spies of the Extraordinary 
Commission for Combating Counter-revolution, the 
mechanism for maintaining and spreading terror, 
receive a salary and ten per cent, of their victim's 
property. By such means the Russian nation has 
been reduced to a condition of complete subservience 
to the rule of a comparatively small number of men 
of almost exclusively Jewish extraction, aliens, that 
is, in blood, in education, in ideals, and supported 
by alien force. The extent to which this is generally 
recognised is shown by the common gibe in Petro- 
grad : " Are you a Commissar or do you belong to 
the Orthodox religion ? " 

There have indeed been attempts to upset the 
Bolsheviks, of which the first and most formidable 
was the rising in the summer of 1918 at Yaroslavl 
on the Volga. This important movement, had it 
been properly supported by the Allies, must have 
been successful and would have cut short at a blow 

104 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



the career of the Conciliar Government. It was after- 
wards beUeved in Moscow that the rising was pre- 
maturely precipitated by discovery of sl " white 
guard " plot, but even allowing for this, its results 
might have been brilUant. Without support, it could 
hardly have prospered even had it been perfectly 
timed. The circumstances for a stroke were favour- 
able. On the South Volga, the Czecho-Slovaks held 
Samara and Simbirsk. Kazan, as was afterwards 
proved, was ripe for a blow against the Bolsheviks. 
Nijni-Novgorod, it was known, would follow suit. 
The British were somewhere north of Kotlas and 
Velsk on the Archangel front; on the Murman line, 
we were south of Kem. The opposition on both was 
vague. The former was held by extremely weak 
Conciliar forces, and the latter was thrown into a 
state of dismay by the cutting of the communications 
between Vologda and Moscow. The slightest push 
from the north would have given us Kotlas, Vologda, 
and Viatka, with Petrozavodsk, and the line from 
Petrograd to Vologda to follow; Kazan and Nijni 
would have risen, the Czecho-Slovaks have freed 
Saratov; and the whole Volga with the vast coun- 
tries northeast of Petrograd would have come back 
into loyalist hands, by which is meant those that 
were loyal to Russia and to her Allies, as opposed 
to the forces of Germany and anarchy. If the Ger- 
mans had then occupied Petrograd and Moscow, as 
they could have done at a couple of days' notice, 

105 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

the Bolsheviks would have been forced to disclose 
their hand and the issue have been defined; if not, 
Petrograd would certainly have had to be evacuated 
by the Bolsheviks, and a combined movement under 
good conditions could have been made against 
Moscow. By autumn, Bolshevism would have been 
dead. 

Panic feigned in Moscow. It was reported at the 
Military Commissariat that Kotlas and Petrozavodsk 
had actually fallen, that the line between Petrograd 
and Vologda was cut, and the capture of Vologda 
and Viatka was momentarily expected. Fighting 
was heard of at Rostov — not on the Don, but near 
Yaroslavl, and there was a rising at Murom, half-way 
to Kazan; in three weeks, it was confidently be- 
lieved. General Alexeiev would be in Moscow to take 
the supreme command of White Guards, Czecho- 
slovaks, and the Volunteer Army. Twenty aero- 
planes, it was said, had flown away from Moscow 
to meet and join him. Evacuation was hastily pre- 
pared. The commander of the Armoured Car 
Division approached the present writer, through a 
common acquaintance, with an offer to put all his 
cars at the service of the Allies when the advance 
guard should reach Moscow, in return for a promise 
merely to report that he had done so. The Reds 
are bad soldiers. During the fighting in Finland, a 
detachment of twelve hundred Germans came quietly 
by train into a town held by them, killed five 

106 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



thousand, and took over ten thousand prisoner; 
while Annapa was taken by one officer with a detach- 
ment of sixty schoolboys and students, who then 
proceeded to hang over five hundred Bolsheviks. 
Only the Letts and the Germans would now show 
fight, and perhaps Moscow would not be defended 
seriously at all. It seemed that the Allies had but 
to walk in. History will relate why they did not. 
Meantime the reason must be presumed to have been 
that fatal indecision that has hampered their action 
at every critical move in the game and prolonged the 
War at least a year longer than was necessary. They 
made no move. The White Guards at Yaroslavl were 
not supported. The rising that had begun so promis- 
ingly came to a tragic end. Yaroslavl was seared 
with flame and drenched in blood. 

In the town itself the fighting lasted ten days. 
The Whites, according to the statements of those 
who were there, began well and held their own 
gallantly against hugely superior forces brought 
against them. But they were fatally hampered at 
the outset by the failure of the Mensheviks to seize 
the railway station and line, as arranged. A survivor 
bitterly remarked that with their usual inefficiency 
they got up three hours late in the morning. The 
Bolsheviks were before them, and the Whites saw 
themselves thus cut off from reinforcements and sup- 
plies they had reckoned on from the surrounding 
countryside. Yet even so they put up a stiff fight. 

107 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



The local intelligentsia did not take much part 
in the contest, regarding the attempt as doomed to 
failure; and the Whites only had three guns. But 
the Reds brought against them were lily-livered. It 
was not they who took the town, but the German 
prisoners of war under the command of their own 
officers, backed by heavy artillery. On the tenth 
day Yaroslavl was burning in fourteen separate 
places from incendiary shells flung into it, and the 
water main was cut. The Whites, some of their 
leaders escaping by river, surrendered into the pro- 
tection of the German Consul, who willingly or un- 
willingly gave them up to the Bolsheviks. Then the 
educated classes of Yaroslavl had cause to regret 
their abstention from the fight. They might have 
helped to give the revolt a chance. As it was, they 
paid the piper without calling the tune. The in- 
furiated victors refused to know any difference 
between active participants against them and mere 
onlookers. Whosoever is not for me, is against me, 
is the Bolsheviks' motto. 

Out of every ten to be arrested, five were shot. 
Doctors, lawyers, priests, merchants were thus 
destroyed, but the greatest number of victims were 
among students and high-school boys, as though the 
Bolsheviks were determined to stamp out the rising 
generation of the *' bourgeoisie." On the first day 
after the surrender, over a thousand were massacred. 
For three days this continued, but on the fourth an 

108 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



order came from Moscow that executions without 
trial were to cease, and the tale diminished accord- 
ingly. Bolshevik trials may be no great guarantee, 
but at least they absorbed time. The killing con- 
tinued in decreasing quantities for six weeks. About 
half the town had suffered severely from shell fire. 
Hunger succeeded. At one factory the workmen 
struck for food- A detachment came down with 
machine-guns and orders to shoot whoever did not 
work. On this the men resumed work and the 
Bolsheviks then sent in food for them. " He who 
does not work for us, neither shall he eat," is the new 
working man's charter, for only that labourer is 
worthy of his hire whose mind and efforts pursue the 
path marked out by authority of the Lamas of the 
Kremlin. 

The capture and recapture of Kazan belong less to 
our story here than to that of the Czecho-Slovak 
movement, but there have been since last summer 
several other less known risings of purely peasant 
origin. While details are extremely difficult to 
obtain, it is admitted that there have been revolts in 
the governments of Tambov and Riazan and near 
Kostroma, besides a smaller S.R. attempt at 
Vitebsk; railway communication with Saratov was 
interrupted for some days in November owing to a 
similar cause, and Moscow was even proclaimed in a 
state of siege, so threatening did the danger appear. 
A little earlier a rising took place in the government 

109 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

of Novgorod. About fifteen thousand men collected 
at Tixvin, a town between Petrograd and Vologda. 
They brought with them machine-guns and rifles, 
of which there are plenty in the villages, and each 
man had food for a week. But having arrived at 
Tixvin, there they stayed. There was no plan, no 
command, no organisation, no transport ; and having 
consumed their food, the peasants went back to their 
homes. Then the Bolsheviks, who had bided their 
time, sent down two regiments of thorough-paced 
Communists and went through the surrounding 
villages, killing every man in whose possession arms 
were found. At the time when the army was 
demobilised, or rather destroyed, talk was rife of the 
arms in the peasants' possession ; for many returning 
from the front brought with them rifles, ammunition, 
hand-grenades, and even machine-guns. But just as 
it was found that such weapons in the hands of 
guerillas only harassed but could not master the 
Germans in the Ukraine, so against the Bolsheviks 
they could not prevail without artillery, supply, 
organisation, and leadership. In the case of peasant 
revolts, each village can be dealt with separately and 
the rising put down piecemeal. 

Russian peasant psychology*, as it bears on ques- 
tions of State, is simple. The peasant's realm is his 
village, and his interest in international matters, 
that is, those that affect the world beyond the con- 
fines of his village, vague. His main concern is to 

110 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



have enough land to till so as to support himself and 
his family in comfort according to his standards of 
life, without having recourse to more intensive and 
difficult methods of agriculture than his father used 
before him. Long before the revolution the question 
of land redistribution was seen to be the most vital 
of Russia's social problems to be faced after the 
War. The peasant wanted land; he who had land 
already wanted more; and all wanted to be secured 
in their tenure of it. Now it must be remarked that 
sense of property in Russia was rudimentary. In 
Little Russia, now often called the Ukraine, and in 
the Baltic provinces, personal ownership of land 
existed, but in Great Russia land belonged solely to 
the village community, and the individual had only a 
passing interest in it common to all the members of 
his community. This system guaranteed a minimum 
return for labour, and a maximum development of 
sloth, ignorance, and apathy, since a man's well- 
tilled land might be taken from him and given to 
another, he thus losing the fruits of industry and 
perseverance. Only with the land reforms of Stoly- 
pin did a glimmering of what Arthur Young called 
" the magic of property " begin to illumine his dark- 
ness. Time, however, was too short, and the shock 
of Socialist propaganda struck Russia before the 
peasants had emerged from their primitive communal 
State. Thus immemorial tradition inclined them to 
a ready acceptance of communistic ideas, especially 

111 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

when accompanied by a lavish distribution of Ger- 
man gifts in money and kind, and the profitable 
possibility of selling Russian guns to the enemy. Not 
until the results of Communism began to be seen in 
practice did their eyes open and their minds change. 
These results are easy to relate. Landlords had 
been driven out and their houses burnt, probably on 
the same principle as a bear's lair is burnt out, the 
peasants believing that the landlord, like the bear, 
will not come back again to a haunt where fire has 
been. The great estates were broken up and the land 
passed into the hands of the peasants. But the 
process did not stop there. Peasants of ability and 
energy acquired more land and prospered, swelling 
the ranks of peasant proprietors, of whom there were 
already many, especially among the Kazan Tartars. 
These now found themselves looked askance at as 
capitalists. They were nicknamed " kulaki " or 
" fists," a term already in use and meaning hard- 
hearted, close-fisted fellows. *' Committees of 
Poverty " were created to control and despoil them. 
So far from wanting Communism now, they desired 
to be established in possession of goods, many of 
which were stolen, and by no means relished being 
stolen from in turn. The peasant was Bolshevik so 
long as he could steal two cows from the man who 
had four, but when robbed of one of those two, 
quickly lost the ruddiness of his political views. For 
his life to be agreeable and useful, he requires certain 

112 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 

goods and provisions, as tea, sugar, tobacco, paraffin, 
matches, soap, needles, cotton-stuffs for his woman- 
kind, and agricultural implements for his work; and 
these cannot be had because importation has ceased, 
manufacture has broken down, and distribution been 
dislocated by the ignorant rage for " nationalising " 
all enterprise. The peasants are enormously rich in 
paper money; not in " Kerenkies," miserable little 
slips of twenty and forty roubles begun to be printed 
during the Ministry of that ill-starred juggler, 
Kerensky, but in good old notes struck before the 
revolution. It is not uncommon for them to have 
packets of notes to the value of 100,000 Rs. and 
more buried in hiding-places. It is therefore foolish 
to expect them willingly to sell their products for 
wretched scraps of paper printed by the million, to 
which no guarantee whatever attaches, especially at 
prices that would be unprofitable even if the money 
were good, and when they cannot buy what they 
require with money at all. They began to refuse to 
sell. Detachments of Red Guards were then sent 
into the country with orders to requisition food for 
the towns, or, as it often turned out, for themselves, 
and pay for it in " Kerenkies " at the prices fixed 
by decree; and the same right was given to every 
army commissar, with the additional privilege of 
printing as many notes as he wanted at the portable 
presses carried with him. The '' food-army " totals 
some thirty thousand men. As might be expected, 

118 I 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



resistance was met with, and when, in spite of all 
their efforts, the peasants saw themselves plundered 
and ill-treated, they adopted the simplest and most 
radical method of self-defence : they ceased to pro- 
duce more than was required for their own needs. 
Butter and cheese are no longer made. Land is sown 
only to the extent of the peasants' own demands. 
What is over is used for barter with townspeople who 
have means of procuring goods, or grain can be dis- 
tilled on the quiet into vodka. At Saratov, the 
centre of one of the richest corn-growing districts 
in the world, it was in December, 1918, hardly pos- 
sible to buy bread for money, beyond the modicum 
sold by card, although the peasants' tea-houses were 
overflowing with it; but anyone with tobacco, 
paraffin, soap, or soda could obtain white bread in 
unlimited quantities. Doctors' services and rare, 
highly-prized medical orders for alcohol, were also 
being paid for in food. Money has, in fact, to a very 
large extent lost its value for the peasants, and a 
rude system of concealed barter taken its place. 

In these circumstances, it is not surprising that 
the peasants have abandoned all faith in the com- 
munistic regime. In the summer they were anxiously 
asking for some legal document that would establish 
them in possession of their new property when a 
change came. By winter they were saying : " Give 
us a Tsar, even if he is a bear." The mobilisation 
was the last straw. They were told that the War 

114 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



was over; that was why the army was broken up 
and peace made with the Germans. Now they are 
mobilised again and forced to fight for what is called 
their " socialistic fatherland." '' We have lived long 
enough under the Jews," they cry. "If we must 
fight, let it be for a Tsar ! " In view of the Bol- 
sheviks' control of armaments and transport, such 
talk can lead to nothing, but it may be taken as a 
fact that the peasants generally will welcome relief 
from whatever quarter it comes. They want peace 
and order; they are said to be willing to pay for the 
land they have taken; and there will be difficulty in 
restraining them from indulging in extensive Jewish 
pogroms. The Bolshevik policy has reached its 
inevitable penultimate stage. By promising the 
peasants a millennium, the Bolsheviks turned them 
against the educated classes. Now the industrious, 
solid peasants are themselves similarly persecuted 
for the benefit of ne'er-do-wells. The fruits of 
Communism have come to be exclusively for those 
who deserve nothing of the community. By the 
Bolsheviks themselves the process is expressed 
differently, if with cynicism. " The Russian people 
has saved itself," said an Assistant People's Com- 
missar. " But only the riff-raff are well off," he was 
answered. " What you call the riff-raff are seventy- 
five per cent, of the nation," the Bolshevik retorted. 
" I am afraid," said his interlocutor, " the hungry 
are not with you now." " Oh," he sneered, *' you 

115 I 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

mean the dissatisfied hungry. We don't care for 
them. They can do nothing against us." The last 
stage will be if by the dilatoriness and blindness of 
the Allied Governments the Bolsheviks are allowed 
to complete the fusion with beaten Germany that is 
already beginning. Should that succeed, Europe will 
be face to face with a Russia enslaved, educated 
classes, peasants, workmen and riff-raff alike, and 
brought under the yoke of German organisation, for 
the utter destruction of European culture and liberty. 
Above the brutal reality of a despotism crushing 
the mechanism of civilisation out of the nation, and 
stopping its prosperity at the fountain head, is a 
gloss of taking phrases that no longer deceive anyone 
in Russia, but would appear to be still potent in 
some quarters abroad. Bolshevik Russia is described 
as " The Russian Federative Socialist Conciliar 
Republic," and the rulers as " The People's Com- 
missars " or " The Workmen's and Peasants' Govern- 
ment." These fine words have no more relation to 
fact than the Germans' pretence that Belgium was 
about to make treacherous war upon them. They are 
a blind. There is no Republic, no Federation, and 
no Socialism, if Socialism means the public owner- 
ship of means of production and the control of 
government by the community. As for federation, 
it has never even been dreamed of. The Tartar 
republic formed in 1917 was destroyed by violence, 
and the Esthonians have to defend their autonomy 

116 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



from an oppression they have once tasted. The 
Bolsheviks are unable to tolerate the least semblance 
of individual State life. Even the so-called 
'' Northern Commune " of Petrograd and its sur- 
rounding districts, that kept up a vague existence 
of its own, has been destroyed (February, 1919) and 
brought back into the fold of uniform Sovietdom. 
Nor does a further inquiry show any better results. 

The Councils or Sovieti are not elected in any sense 
known to respectable States. Lists of candidates are 
prepared beforehand and presented to be voted 
en hloc by the meetings of the factories or country 
districts. Anybody objecting or wishing to propose 
other candidates is browbeaten, bullied, and shouted 
down, or if the matter should go as far as organised 
opposition. Red Guards can be called in to suppress 
it. Besides, as voting is not by ballot, objectors 
can be noted and dealt with quietly afterwards. The 
Congress of Councils, as assembly of representatives 
from the latter which has now come together nine 
times and is represented as a sort of parliament, 
meets when summoned by the bosses of the machine, 
and sits for scarcely more than a few days. Its 
business is listening to speeches by the People's Com- 
missars and endorsing their policy. Since its mem- 
bers are dependent for their salaries upon the 
Councils and the latter are amenable in a high degree 
to pressure from headquarters, it can be imagined 
how independent is their criticism. It has no legis- 

117 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

lative authority nor any control over the executive, 
and is merely an ornament, if anything Bolshevik 
can be held to serve so elegant a purpose. The 
People's Commissars are not responsible to the Con- 
gress, and are uncontrolled by it or by anyone else. 
Originally self-nominated, they remain as they began, 
usurpers of the name and dignity of representatives 
of the people. The Central Executive Committee of 
the Councils of Workmen's, Peasants', and Red Army 
Men's Deputies is in its active relation towards the 
People's Commissars merely a consultative body, and 
executive only of their will. All important appoint- 
ments are made by the Council of People's Commis- 
sars or by the small groups within it that deal in 
patronage as a ware that constitutes one of the 
surest of political weapons. These groups do not 
always agree with one another, but, like the good 
Israelite organisers that the Bolshevik bosses are, 
they understand the necessity of holding in the main 
together and presenting a united front to the enemy. 
So close a grip is kept over the distribution of jobs 
that, to obtain work even in non-political institutions 
like the post-office or the railways, the applicant 
must be provided with recommendations from two 
members of the Communist Party, who are them- 
selves certified by cards issued by that party. The 
Bolsheviks' control over every department of life was 
by the end of 1918 so complete that there can hardly 
have been a single person earning a salary in Russia 

118 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



who was not directly or indirectly under their thumb, 
so that, were it desirable, they could at a moment's 
notice get him discharged. Nor is it possible to 
blame those who serve the Bolsheviks. They do so 
against their will and with hearts of lead. They 
must either serve or starve. 

The screw of economic necessity is one of the two 
chief means by which the Bolsheviks carry out the 
policy they have imposed on the country. The other 
is terror. Had anyone in the days of Nicolas II. 
suggested as possible such a measure of repression of 
public opinion and such a degree of privilege for the 
governing class as is openly preached and practised 
by the Bolsheviks, he would have been laughed to 
scorn for a dreamer of absurdities. And here, lest 
the picture should seem fantastic, let us call on an 
unimpeachable witness, Karl Zobelsohn, alias Radek, 
one of the chief executive agents of Bolshevik foreign 
policy, sometime member of the " Central College " 
for Foreign Affairs, and the most brilliant journalist 
of the party. " The order of the day is red terror," 
wrote Radek on September 6th in the Moscow official 
News or Izvestiya, in an article lauding the modera- 
tion of the Bolsheviks. " The question is placed 
squarely before the popular masses by the murder of 
our Comrade Uritsky and the attempt on Comrade 
Lenin's life. . . . The Conciliar Government is 
against the aimless and needless shedding of blood, 
even of its foes, and has set itself counter to the 

119 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

heart-cry of blood for blood ! Now it has taken in 
its hand the sword of red terror, because red terror 
is imperatively dictated by circumstances." Yet 
" the destruction of particular individuals among the 
bourgeoisie, in so far as they have taken immediate 
part in the White Guard movement, has only im- 
portance as a means of spreading fear at the actual 
moment of encounter, in answer to the attempt on 
the life of one of our Comrades. It is obvious that for 
every Conciliar partisan, for every leader of the work- 
man's revolution who falls at the hands of agents of 
counter-revolution, the latter will pay with scores of 
heads." And so it was. On the day following the 
attack on Lenin, six hundred and twelve hostages, 
perfectly innocent of participation in the deed, were 
shot in Moscow. For the assassination of Uritsky 
four hundred and thirty-six were shot at Fort Ino 
at Cronstadt alone after digging their own graves, 
and in Petrograd over a thousand. Nor was this the 
whole tale. Many prisoners were dispatched from 
Petrograd in barges and drowned. Many more were 
shot in various commissariats by orders of the so- 
called " revolutionary troika," a committee of three 
attached to each commissariat, who by their simple 
vote could send any person in the district lock-up 
to death. Throughout the country, local Commis- 
sions for Combating Counter-revolution vied with the 
more celebrated murderers of the capitals and exe- 
cuted officers, priests, town notables, students, and 

120 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



journalists in great numbers. But this was not 
enough for Radek's appetite. " These means," he 
continued, " of mass red terror are only means of 
prophylaxy, means, so to say, of a police character. 
The centre of gravity of the red terror lies in a 
different plane; we must take from the bourgeoisie 
the means that serve in their hands as weapons in the 
struggle. ... It is inadmissible that in hungry 
Moscow smart restaurants should exist where dinner 
costs hundreds of roubles; inadmissible that the 
bourgeoisie should swagger in valuable fur coats, 
while in the workmen's quarters the workmen, and 
at the front the Red Army men, freeze. We must 
take from the bourgeoisie everything we possibly can 
so that the Red Army may be fed and clothed and 
booted." Not the bourgeois, it should be noted, in 
fact, ran up dinner-bills for hundreds of roubles, but 
corrupt commissars and sailors, whose pockets bulged 
with " Kerenkies " ; and Trotsky was a frequent visi- 
tor at Yar's, the smartest and most expensive of all 
the restaurants in Moscow. Radek demanded, further, 
that executions and confiscations should be carried 
out, not by special tribunals for the purpose, but at 
the dictation of the masses — lynch law, in fact, 
applied to property as well as to persons. '* Five 
hostages taken from the bourgeoisie, and shot by 
sentence of the executive committee of the local 
Council of Workmen's, Peasants' and Red Army 
Men's Deputies, §hot in the presence of thousands of 

in 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

workmen approving the act ; this would be a stronger 
act of mass red terror than the execution of five 
hundred by decree of the Extraordinary Commission 
without the workmen's presence. Tear from the 
bourgeoisie their money, warm clothes, everything 
that is not an object of prime necessity, by means of 
organised detachments of tens of thousands of work- 
men, and you will cause them better to feel the 
powerful will of the working class in defence of the 
Conciliar Power, than the most ruthless reprisals by 
special engines of Governmental terror. . . . Let the 
red sword of mass terror be raised, and let it fall 
without mercy." 

This, in all its naked frankness, is the Communist 
policy of the Bolsheviks : by means of force, and 
again of force, and always of force, to take from him 
that has all that he has, even that which he has not, 
to give it to those that had not, and from them in 
turn to take away that which has just been given 
unto them. Moral, mental, and material superiority 
must alike be destroyed. All must be reduced to a 
dead level of dirt, discomfort, and degradation. And 
such indeed is the state of Russia. The Bolsheviks 
take credit to themselves for having suppressed the 
anarchy that marked the winter of 1917 and spring 
of 1918. But it was themselves who first created 
anarchy. Nor have they suppressed, but only con- 
trolled and organised it. People are no longer mur- 
dered in the streets, but are shot in commissariats 

122 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



and by Extraordinary Commissions. Flats are no 
longer rifled, or at least more rarely, by bands of 
armed ruffians, but are requisitioned in the name of 
authority, and furniture and valuables carried out to 
be sold at auction. The Bolsheviks have rendered 
private murder and robbery unnecessary by 
nationalising them and giving their excitement to 
those who choose to enlist under the Bolshevik 
banner. Rank, piety, eminence, patriotism are but 
so many claims to martyrdom. Eleven bishops have 
been shot, seventeen members of the ex-Imperial 
family, brilliant journalists like Menshikov, noble 
women like Bochkarova, a girl of simple birth who 
fought throughout the War as a volunteer and raised 
the pitifully brave and tragic Women's Battalion in 
the year of the revolution. Of the heroes of the War, 
Russky, Radko, Dmitriev, Admiral Schastny, the 
sailor Batkin have been shot, Kaledin driven to 
suicide, Alexeiev and Kornilov to death by disease 
and shell, Brusilov badly wounded. 

An odious poster was printed and stuck up at 
railway stations and in public places all over Russia, 
representing a ravenous priest, a bloated peasant 
merchant, and between them a vile caricature of the 
dead Emperor, his crown toppling in crazy intoxica- 
tion. Underneath ran the legend : *' Pop, Tsar, and 
Kulak " — Priest, Emperor, and close-fisted fellow — 
with abusive lines following. As this was shortly 
after the murder of Nicolas II. and in the middle 

128 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

of the persecution of the Church and of the landed 
peasantry, the degree of decency of feeling may be 
judged. Nor did Russians alone suffer. In this orgy 
of crime and vulgarity their Allies could not escape 
notice. The French consular officials in Moscow, who 
were not tarred with the sympathy for Bolshevism 
that perhaps saved their British colleagues from a 
like fate, were flung into prison and forced to clean 
the latrines of the Red Guards. The subject may not 
be nice, but in order to make the nature of this task 
understood, it must be remarked that Russians of 
the uneducated classes are in the habit of standing 
on the seat; at provincial railway stations and in 
second-class hotels a wooden framework is erected to 
make this impossible ; but where such does not exist 
the degree of filth is unimaginable. In the prisons 
the work of the French was so sickening that they 
were unable to eat afterwards, the more so as the 
food provided was rotten and maggoty. Sickness 
broke out among them, and there were cases of 
typhus and of death. 

At the same time, the Bolsheviks' relations with 
the Germans were the best. It was " Comrade 
Bliicher " who earned the special thanks of the Con- 
ciliar Government by the work of his detachment 
against the Czecho-Slovaks ; perhaps we may learn 
some day what rank in the German Army this 
Blucher had held. There were Germans at the taking 
of Orenburg, where the Russian commanders were 

124 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



three notorious criminals. They brought with them 
a contingent of prostitutes and for three nights made 
revelry at the principal hotel, keeping the servants 
on their feet the whole time under threat of shooting. 
The latter, who with the usual stupid insolence of 
uneducated provincial Russians, had reviled the 
bourgeoisie and acclaimed the Conciliar troops as 
harbingers of a life of glorious sloth, veered round 
in their opinions and swore that Communism was 
nothing but a devilish deceit. In the daytime the 
conquering brigands did their work of slaughter. The 
corpses were piled in heaps. Thither the widows of 
the slain were permitted to go to hunt for their 
husbands' bodies, but not to bring cart, barrow, or 
stretcher; and the spectacle was seen of women 
carrying home corpses on their backs, head down- 
wards, with the legs over the bearers' shoulders. 
But the greatest service rendered by the Germans 
was at Pskov. Here the Russian volunteer Northern 
Army was stationed, in reality, despite the name, a 
small force of motley detachments, largely composed 
of officers. Previous to evacuating the town accord- 
ing to the terms of their armistice with the Allies, 
the Germans promised every assistance to the 
Russians, offered them arms, ammunition, and sup- 
port against the Bolsheviks, and facilitated the 
passage of Russian officers from Finland to swell 
their numbers. The Bolsheviks came on, but the 
Russians were confident; they held the centre and 

125 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



one wing, while the Germans were on the other, and 
their engineers had connected the wire entanglements 
with a powerful current from the electric light 
station. The attack was delivered; the Geriiians, 
only then revealing their treachery, switched off the 
current, extinguishing, moreover, the lights in the 
town, retreated from their position and attacked the 
Russian officers' battalion, three thousand strong, in 
the rear. All was confusion. The Russians, who 
further discovered that the German machine-guns 
were jamming, had to abandon Pskov, and retreated 
in disorder, leaving a number of prisoners and all 
their slender stores to the Bolshevik. Then came the 
most horrible part of all. The captured officers, to a 
number variously given as between a hundred and 
fifty and eight hundred, were handed over to Chinese 
torturers in the pay of the Bolsheviks, and, it is 
reported, were sawn asunder. Yet if for such perfidy 
the name of German deserves to be branded with 
endless shame, what must be said of the light- 
heartedness of the Allies in compelling Germany to 
evacuate the occupied provinces of Russia, without 
a thought for the loyal Russians defending their 
country against hordes of brigands, the foes of Euro- 
pean order and most of all of the name of En^and ? 
The Bolsheviks were not ungrateful for German 
assistance. In the middle of November, while Petro- 
grad and Moscow starved, they were rushing trains 
with flour to the west " for the comrades battling for 

126 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



the dictatorship of the proletariat in Germany." 
And three weeks before, the remainder of the Rus- 
sian gold reserve, it was reported, had been shipped 
off via Riga to Berlin. 

" My paradise is on earth. It is lit by electricity 
and full of rich tapestries and carpets and furniture. 
Enter, O ye unclean, and take it all ! " These are 
the words of Jesus, according to the Bolshevik 
evangelist Maikovsky, whose " Mystery-Bouffe '' was 
produced in Petrograd with great pomp to celebrate 
the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. Chris- 
tianity is at a discount in Conciliar Russia. While 
nominally all creeds are tolerated, in fact that of the 
Orthodox Church is given as little breathing-space 
as possible. Religious teaching has, of course, been 
removed from the schools in company with French 
and Latin (but German has been made compulsory) ; 
priests are compelled to do the roughest labourers' 
work, sacred images have been taken down from all 
public places, as railway stations, where the little 
chapels formed a pleasant spot of colour and interest, 
and their possession in private houses is even said to 
have been made the subject of a tax by some 
councils; the reading of the Bible in prisons is pro- 
hibited as being a ''counter-revolutionary" book; 
but when the Gospel can be twisted to advocate 
robbery, we see that its aid will not be disdained. 
Maikovsky 's fatuity, too trivial to be called blas- 
phemous, was rivalled by posters of immense size 

127 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

designed for the celebrations and displayed at street 
corners- Some were cubist, some futurist; few were 
executed with any regard to accuracy of drawing, and 
most were sickly in colour. The subjects were various 
and symbolical ; the most striking of all, perhaps, the 
representation, somewhat in the style of Guido Reni, 
of two smiths at work to whom, through a hole in 
massive clouds, the figure of Karl Marx clad in a 
toga hands from on high a copy of " Das Kapital " 
bound appropriately in red, while an angelic trum- 
peter places a wreath on his brow. To take part in 
the rejoicings, " the poor " of numerous villages were 
brought to Petrograd, and given free food, lodgings, 
and passes to the theatre. These " poor," who were 
substantially dressed and a hundred times better fed 
than the once well-to-do of the capital, were too 
cunning to be caught with such salt, and openly 
declared that they would not give the Communists 
more of their products than could be helped. Mean- 
while they were not averse to seeing the sights. 
Thirty millions had been allotted to the anniversary 
decorations in Petrograd, but if Petrograd got the 
worth of a tenth part of that sum, it must be con- 
sidered lucky. The rest evaporated on the way into 
diverse pockets. Never were decorations so skimpy. 
Many were the old May-Day banners, violent puzzles 
in crimson and black, now somewhat fly-blown. The 
new efforts were beneath contempt, and the illumina- 
tions at night unworthy of a seaside subscription 

128 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



dance. It was for this occasion that the head of 
Lassalle, a blend, according to the sculptor, of Jew 
and negro, was set up in front of the town hall, 
which was renamed " Lassalle's House," while 
'' Uritzky Street," " Revolution Place," " Lieb- 
knecht Avenue," etc., were to shoulder out the his- 
toric street names of Petrograd. The attempt was 
an utter failure; and, despite the threat of heavy 
fines, cabmen, tramway conductors, and public re- 
fused to recognise " Nahamkis Prospect " at the 
bidding of Zinoviev-Apfelbaum. On the first day of 
the jubilation, processions dragged along the main 
streets laboriously, their eyes fixed on the ground. 
They were a sorry sight and of far less interest than 
the way they had been collected. Schools, in the 
first place, were sent out, under threat that all 
truants' lunch would be stopped for a week; then 
sailors were brought up from Cronstadt, and they 
were simply told that they would be shot if they 
did not go ; finally, workmen, each of whom had been 
m.arked down through his house-committee and 
would be deprived of bread if he failed to attend. 
At night crowds of the country '' poor " and towns- 
people, curious to see if anything would happen, 
drifted about in silence; there was no enthusiasm, 
nor indeed emotion of any kind. For what was being 
celebrated ? Hunger and the beginning of the agony 
of Petrograd. The city was like John Leech's pic- 
tures of servants carousing in the drawing-room 

129 K 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



during their master's absence. Festivity, to be 
successful, must have some reason. The reason for 
the Bolsheviks' fete was that they had turned out 
the educated classes. But having done so, they were 
unable to do anything further. Another reason, 
indeed, could be spied in the sonorous articles that 
poured from communal pens. The Bolsheviks 
seemed surprised to find themselves still in power. 
And well they might be. They knew better than any 
how easily they might have been overthrown and how 
richly they deserved it. Voznessensky, the director 
of the Eastern department of the Bolshevik Foreign 
Office, who was usually deputed for such missions by 
reason of his thorough knowledge of English, had in 
the sunimer frankly told the American Ambassador 
at Vologda that if the Allies wished they could put 
down the Conciliar Government almost without a 
blow, but the longer they waited the more difficult 
the task would become; therefore it behoved them 
to settle a definite policy one way or the other. It 
must have seemed a dream that the Entente should 
suffer the continuance in power of their bitterest foes 
who were preparing a campaign to destroy social 
order in England and France, and already were 
training bands of agitators to create a revolution in 
India. " The English are our chief enemies," said a 
well-known Bolshevik doctor; "not enemies exactly, 
but their pride stands in our way. Once they are 
beaten we shall be the first people in the world. In 

180 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



March we shall make a revolution in India, and that 
will be the beginning of the end for them." The 
Bolsheviks had expected a far shorter shrift than a 
year, and when the anniversary came and went 
looked at each other with doubting eyes, scarcely 
able to believe their good fortune. 

Meanwhile, the Communists had sun by which to 
make hay. As the lapse of time showed that no one 
interefered with them, their grip over individual and 
social life became tighter. " House-committees of 
poverty " had now taken the place of the old house- 
committees that were the last remnant of free 
organisation in Petrograd. Their intention was to 
oppress the middle-class tenants in favour of work- 
men, always understanding by workmen those who 
were members of the Communist Party as alone 
worthy of consideration. The plan was not com- 
pletely successful, since in practice the dvornik or 
house porter was bound to have great influence on 
his " committee of poverty," and the dvomiki, be- 
sides knowing from whom tips could be expected, 
to a man looked forward to a change in the State, 
which would make them once more dependent on 
proprietors and tenants. Better results attended the 
" crowding up " campaign. Despite the fact that 
the population of Petrograd had sunk from between 
two and three to under one million, it was declared 
that to relieve the housing congestion, the flats of 
" bourgeois " were to be " crowded up." No more 

181 K 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

than one room per person, including dining-room and 
kitchen, was to be allowed, and a maximum of cubic 
feet was fixed so that a large room must be occupied 
by at least two. If there were not enough in the 
family. Red Army men or sailors were sent in to 
occupy the spare rooms. Flats left empty by their 
tenants were seized and all their contents carried 
off. Innumerable Conciliar institutions, multiplying 
like mice, invaded separate houses and many of the 
best blocks of fiats. Dodges of every kind were 
resorted to by way of evasion; a well-known former 
newspaper proprietor, for instance, founding and 
supporting a Jewish university in his drawing-room, 
many managing to inscribe themselves in two or more 
places Oa residence. The whole intelligentsia was 
registered for the purpose of so-called social work, 
which might mean anything from grave-digging to 
needlework for the Red Army. In Moscow and other 
towns, elderly ladies and infirm gentlemen were set 
to remove the snow from the street after an excep- 
tionally heavy fall , while sturdy young ruffians 
looked on and delightedly mocked them. In towns 
near the front, a policy was adopted towards the 
educated classes similar to that of the old rSgime 
towards the Jews in 1915 : they were simply turned 
out of their homes to fend for themselves as best they 
could, with the added hardship of being forbidden 
to sell their goods, which frequently had to be parted 
with " under the rose " at low prices. Thus, at 

182 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



Saratov, much overcrowded by fugitives from the 
famine in Moscow and Petrograd, the entire centre 
of the town was emptied of the " bourgeoisie," the 
houses frequently not being used at all, while their 
former owners and tenants were driven into cramped 
and inhospitable lodgings, often sleeping in passages 
for want of room. In one case, by no means rare, 
a family of eleven were sleeping in four rooms and 
taking their meals in the corridor — and of these one 
was a doctor, attached to the town hospital, with the 
right to two rooms : without his privileges the 
accommodation would have been still worse. While 
inhabitants were in such straits for room, the three 
largest hotels, requisitioned by the Bolsheviks, were 
kept standing completelv empty. At the same time 
thousands of refugees from various scenes of fighting, 
and persons cut off from their homes by the break- 
down of railway and river transport, were camping 
out on the banks of the Volga, exposed to the 
weather, and without any provision for sanitation 
or a proper water-supply. 

While Saratov had not so far been visited by an 
epidemic, typhus, smallpox, scurvy, and glanders 
were said to be raging in Central Russia, and appar- 
ently trustworthy reports came to hand of repeated 
cases where, instead of being taken to the already 
overflowing hospitals, themselves almost become 
mortuaries, sick persons were shot out of hand to 
save trouble. In Petrograd the death-rate became 

133 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



appalling. Here smallpox, typhus, measles, and 
" Spanish " sickness claimed their thousands. Im- 
mense queues were formed at the cemeteries. A 
mother, burying her baby in November, counted 
eighty-one other infants' coffins awaiting burial. When 
it is remembered that compared with two months 
afterwards November was a time of plenty in Petro- 
grad, the figure of eighty-two infant burials in one 
day at one cemetery gives a horrible gauge of the 
later mortality. In the light of this, the terrific 
figures given for December and January seem pos- 
sible. On the authority of information obtained by 
the Russian Secret Service in Petrograd from the 
Commissariat of Statistics and supplied to General 
Yudenich's staff in Finland, eighty thousand people 
died in Petrograd in December and a hundred and 
twenty thousand in January. It was certainly 
believed in Petrograd that the population was declin- 
ing by more than a hundred thousand a month, and 
at the end of March is estimated at hardly more than 
half a million. Corpses often waited to be buried 
for a fortnight or more. Coffins were hired at sixty 
roubles a trip, and, on being emptied, instantly 
returned for a fresh occupant. Many were buried 
without coffins, and almost without grave-cloths. 
The dead, far too numerous for individual burial, 
were interred in large common graves. Yet, while 
the population rapidly declined, the consumption of 
water in Petrograd rose to nearly four times what 

134 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



it was in 1916, owing to the ruinous condition of 
many of the pipes and consequent wastage. And 
this though in many houses the water-supply has 
wholly ceased, and the tenants are forced to go to 
their neighbours for their every need. 

By January, 1919, Communism had been pushed 
to what may be regarded as its normal extreme. 
Perhaps some further length may yet be invented, 
but up to that date, besides industry, commerce, the 
land, houses, and retail trade, dogs, cemeteries, 
and undertakers had been nationalised, and there 
had been several suggestions of making women from 
twenty to forty years public property also. At Sara- 
tov a scheme for enforced promiscuity had long ago 
been worked out, though no attempt appears to have 
been made to put it in practice. There, as well as 
in the two capitals, all shops had been shut except 
fruiterers, hairdressers, hat shops, toy shops, bicycle 
shops, and such minor businesses. To buy any 
article of clothing or food, fuel of any sort, boots, 
paper, or generally anything of utility or value, an 
order from the local council, only to be obtained 
after prolonged and harassing pertinacity in five or 
six different departments, must be forthcoming. The 
bookselling trade has been socialised, and only 
approved books can be sold. Even to enjoy the 
luxury of a Russian bath, formerly the most ordinary 
of comforts, an order from the council was necessary. 
Hotels are all shut, and furnished lodgings run by a 

135 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

department of the Council. To take more than a 
modicum of luggage by railway permissions from four 
separate authorities have to be shown, and these will 
require at least as many days to procure. Electric 
light is supplied quite capriciously, on some days 
only to houses in blocks where there is a Conciliar 
institution. Even in the depth of winter, the streets 
were hardly lit at all. The trams run erratically for 
a few hours a day, and a ride costs a rouble. Postage 
stamps, once considered a sine qua non of civilised 
comfort, have now been abolished; all letters must 
be taken to the post office and handed across the 
counter, with the result that yet further immense 
delays take place in a service already crippled by 
bad habits, bad control, and adverse circumstances. 
Conciliar finance consists of the savage imposition of 
huge fines and contributions, which during the first 
half of 1918, a period of comparative moderation, 
were computed to have totalled over 900,000,000 Rs., 
ending at Petrograd in February with a sixty per 
cent, tax on all valuables. 

Railways under Conciliar management can hardly 
be said to exist. Over sixty per cent, of the loco- 
motives are out of service, and by this time probably 
a third of the total rolling-stock. By March the 
percentage of " sick " rolling-stock had undoubtedly 
much increased. Repairs cannot be undertaken for 
want of material, skilled work, and by reason of 
general idleness. Travelling has become a martyr- 

186 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



dom. In the schools, where changes in the curri- 
culum have already been noted, practically no work 
is done. A highly intelligent, willing lad of seven- 
teen said that from August to January he had learnt 
nothing at all. This is due partly to the frequent 
changes of masters, who are exposed to denuncia- 
tions from rivals, pupils with a grievance, or discon- 
tented house porters; for the schools are managed 
by committees consisting of the porters, boys, and 
masters. Partly also to the general absence of dis- 
cipline; and partly to the boys being frequently 
employed to chop wood and do other similar 
labourers' jobs. Boys frequently do not attend for 
days running, without any notice being taken, and 
would seemingly not go to school at all were it not 
for the free lunch given, consisting of a plate of soup, 
a minute portion of bread, and a glass of tea ; which 
makes a very serious addition to the day's food in 
Petrograd. They have free passes to the State and 
Communal theatres, with the object of swelling the 
miserable audiences there. In the high school from 
which these details are taken, a typical school of 
good reputation, a large amount of speculation goes 
on among the boys, one having the possibility of 
getting bread from the country, another potatoes or 
sweets from a mother in a supply committee, a third 
cigarettes through a brother in a commissariat. A 
brisk business is thus done, and the boys, who see 
nothing wrong in doing what they see done all around 

137 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

them, become hard, avaricious traders and not 
infrequently swindlers. 

When such deterioration is noticeable among the 
youth of the educated class, it is not surprising that 
lower down in the scale criminal instincts have spread 
and flourish to an alarming extent. The contraband 
markets that have sprung up everywhere have 
become an unexampled school for pickpockets. 
Nothing can be bought in the shops, but everything 
at known street corners, where, as dusk falls, huge 
crowds collect to chaffer and barter, swelled by 
thieves and prostitutes. At night the Nevsky Pros- 
pect, dirty, dark, and unkempt, that used to be one 
of the finest streets in Europe, presents an aspect 
truly infernal. Under the uncertain light of the rare 
arc lamps knots of loungers drift by, with coarse 
laughter and brutal quarrels. There are but two 
types represented — sailors and prostitutes, the latter 
all very young. .These literally form the sole com- 
position of the crowd. They exhale an odour of vice 
and murder that revolts and terrifies. Petrograd has 
indeed become a City of Dreadful Night. The lees 
of human life have boiled up to the surface in a 
loathsome scum, and swirl round, befouling all they 
touch. Nor is this only the impression of a foreigner. 
On February 4th, a letter signed " Communist " was 
printed in the Northern Commune, describing a 
charity entertainment two days before at the Little 
Theatre, in the form of a ' Cabaret.' '* This Cabaret 

138 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



consisted solely in the fact that there was an 
orchestra to which sailors and prostitutes danced. 
Nobody else was visible among the public. ... It 
was horrible to watch these bought girls, among 
whom I saw very few over sixteen years old, but 
many of from ten to twelve years and even younger. 
It is time to prohibit such indecency and to have 
done with ' charities ' that spread lewdness far and 
wide." In March, on an advertisement page in the 
Northern Commune, out of over two hundred pro- 
fessional advertisements counted there was not one 
that was not either of a cure for venereal disease, or 
of masseuses whose business is notoriously to assist 
illegitimate births or to procure abortions. Corrup- 
tion permeates Communist society from top to 
bottom. Bribes are taken by almost all officials. 
Large sums change hands to obtain release from 
prison or relief from harsh treatment there. In one 
case last summer, 7,500 Rs. was paid to obtain the 
transfer of a prisoner from a commissariat, where it 
was known he would be shot, to the fortress of Peter 
and Paul; the money was paid to the cook at the 
commissariat, and the transfer was effected. 
Recently as much as 100,000 Rs. has been paid for 
the release of a prisoner from the Gorohovaya. Rail- 
way facilities also afford excellent opportunities for 
palm greasing, and it is said that Marie Andreeva, 
the Petrograd commissar of theatres, made two 
millions out of the transport of some trucks of fish 

139 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

from Saratov. This Andreeva, who was a second- 
rate actress at the Art Theatre in Moscow, is Maxim 
Gorky's " civil " wife. She now has her exclusive 
motor-car, dresses exquisitely in days when the sim- 
plest costume costs a thousand roubles, and travels 
in a special coach, taking her own cook with her for 
the journey. 

Theatres are kept open, the larger at a great loss, 
some of the smaller well filled by the efforts of actors 
really devoted to their work and seeing in it the 
only refuge in the general ruin. The Conciliar powers 
realise that were the theatres to close, the last fiction 
of civilised life would vanish; therefore, when the 
manager of the intellectual little music hall in Mos- 
cow, "The Bat," wished to shut his house and 
betake himself to his native south, he was forbidden 
and told that if he tried to leave his post he would 
be shot. Yet, though the word has gone forth that 
the people, in default of bread, shall have entertain- 
ments, the Bolsheviks can hardly be said to show 
great consideration to the art of drama, since per- 
formances are sometimes delayed for half an hour 
for the arrival of some Conciliar boss, and once at 
the Art Theatre at Moscow the actors were compelled 
to give the first act over again for the benefit of a 
Bolshevik grandee who came late. There is a strict 
censorship, and anything smacking of counter-revolu- 
tion, as, for instance, Rostand's " L'Aiglon," is 
sternly forbidden. The cinema censorship commission, 

140 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



too, is a fruitful spring of illicit wealth. There it is the 
custom to leave the film-owner alone in a room into 
which members of the commission put their heads, 
holding up as many fingers as they require thousands 
for their assent. A case has been quoted where pro- 
duction expenses were raised in this way from a 
hundred and twenty to a hundred and fifty-eight 
thousand roubles. Well might Lenin declare that 
bribery in Russia was universal. The only remedy, 
he said, would be publicly to shoot two hundred 
takers of bribes a week. It did not apparently occur 
to him that a surer way would be to unmuzzle the 
Press, abolish terror, and inaugurate representative 
government in which the people might gain control 
over administration. 

Maxim Gorky's wife thus queens it over the 
theatres. Maxim Gorky himself, who contributed 
more than any single man to the rise of the Bolshevik 
power in Russia, and then for a while played Achilles 
in his tent, last summer came again into the open 
and was nominated member of the " Presidium " or 
chief committee of the Petrograd Council, where in 
company with Zinoviev and Lunacharsky he shares 
to the full the responsibility for the crimes of the 
Bolsheviks. His special pet is the Publication Com- 
mission, to which is given over the whole business of 
publication with a grant of many millions for the 
purpose. Books are now only issued by the State, 
at a fixed rate of payment per sheet to the author. 

141 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



As new books of distinction are not forthcoming in 
great quantities, it was proposed to republish editions 
of standard Russian authors. At the head of the 
first list Gorky inscribed thirty of his own works. 
The Publication Commission is in reality to a large 
extent an engine for distributing hush money to 
literary persons who might on the quiet foment 
opinion against the Bolsheviks. Thus seven hundred 
thousand roubles was paid in October to a group of 
four young authors, ostensibly to start a new review, 
of which, however, nothing had been seen or heard 
by February. Meanwhile, Bolshevik agents abroad 
spread legends that Gorky is not really a Bolshevik ; 
oh, no ! The real Bolsheviks are Leonid Andreev, 
who prefers poverty in exile to the bloodstained 
laurels of Communism and has refused offers of 
hundreds of thousands from Gorky's Commission for 
the right to reprint his old works, and the painter 
Constantine Reerich, persecuted by the Germans for 
refusing to send an exhibition of his pictures, on 
remarkably handsome terms, to Munich, Dresden, 
and Berlin. The Bolshevik system of buying authors 
is not confined to the Russian article only; for a 
literary lady well known in England and possessing 
recommendations from the former British Ambas- 
sador at Petrograd, has been waiting for several 
months with a well-stocked purse to proceed hither 
on a search for translation rights — in other words, to 
bribe pens that might be driven to the Bolsheviks' 

142 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



undoing. Fortunately for us, the Finnish Govern- 
ment will not visee her passport. Another legend was 
started to save Gorky's reputation from the odium 
of responsibility for the murder of the four Grand 
Dukes at the end of January, a crime of peculiarly 
cold-blooded and inexcusable cruelty. It was put 
about that Gorky, anxious to save them, had gone 
in person to Moscow to beg their lives, and had suc- 
ceeded, and was bringing back the pardon with him, 
but was seized by a heart attack in the train, and so, 
being delayed, arrived too late. Not many persons, 
it is to be hoped, are so childish as to believe that, 
had this been the case, the reprieve would not have 
been sent by telephone or telegraph. Such inven- 
tions are but a proof of the Bolsheviks' own sense of 
insecurity and of their desire to snatch at any means 
of escape from the retribution they foresee awaiting 
them. 

At the present time, money is perhaps the most 
important weapon in the arsenal of Bolshevism. 
While local and portable presses flood Russia with 
'' Kerenkies," the State mint on the Fontanka Canal 
at Petrograd works day and night striking off notes 
of the old regime ; that is to say, forging bank notes 
of old dates and old numbers. For some reason, the 
year 1909 is greatly favoured both for ten and for 
five hundred rouble notes. These are kept chiefly for 
export, since, however low the rouble falls, it is still 
worth more than the ink and paper required for 

143 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



forgery. In banking circles in Petrograd, it was 
believed in January that two million roubles a month 
were allocated for propaganda in Finland, an allow- 
ance increased by a heavy special grant afterwards. 
In Germany, Russian money, as is known also from 
German sources, has been employed throughout for 
the Spartacist rebellion, and at the beginning of 
March information was received from Petrograd that 
350 million roubles were being dispatched to the 
Fatherland. German banks in Helsingfors, doubtless 
under instructions from the astute diplomatists of 
the German Legation, aided in this work by demand- 
ing new " old " 500 Rs. notes from refugees arriving 
from Russia, and refusing to receive others. And 
when dealings in roubles were forbidden in Finland, 
the Bolshevik financiers only had to remove to Stock- 
holm. The connection between Germany and Bol- 
shevism, plain before to all unprejudiced observers, 
received further proof when Count Bassowitz, Mir- 
bach's former Charge d 'Affaires at Moscow, received 
notice of expulsion from Finland in April on dis- 
covery of his complicity in the Red rebellion that 
was plotted for the following month. The Finnish 
Government further states that a large consignment 
of forged English bank notes was found in the lug- 
gage of the Swiss Socialists, Flatten and Axebode, 
returning from Russia, and were confiscated. In 
these circumstances, the greatest blow against 
Gewnany and against the Bolsheviks would be to 

144 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



send an aeroplane to bomb the mint at Petrograd. 
Then there would be an end of this insidious warfare, 
and the troublesome question of the Russian currency 
would at least be simplified. 

Opponents of Allied intervention in Russia to put 
down the Bolsheviks often allege as arguments the 
difficulty of coping with the mighty Red Army, the 
immense force that would be required, and the 
impracticability of advancing into the limitless 
distances of Russia that swallowed up Napoleon and 
baffled Hindenburg. The reasoning is fallacious. No 
one is asked to conquer Russia. All that is proposed 
is to upset the Bolshevik Government, when Russia 
herself will do everything else that is necessary. 
Secondly, in the opinion of all who have observed 
the Red Army, a very moderate force from outside, 
if resolutely handled, would be enough to cope with 
it, because, thirdly, the Red Army is rotten, badly 
fed and equipped, and disloyal. The maximum 
claimed for the Red Army is 800,000; but, in fact, 
the total is believed to be not much more than half 
a million. Of this less than a quarter might be 
reliable opposed to seasoned troops, being composed 
of Lettish and some Magyar detachments and of the 
old, convinced Red Army men, who are Communists, 
if not by principle, at least by long practice. The 
fighting quality of the Chinese is doubtful. Those 
who used to be on guard in the streets in Moscow 
last year looked smart and intelligent, but may have 

145 L 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

been picked men. They are understood to have 
Russian officers, but again it seems unknown whether 
these are " Red " officers or men of serious military 
training. '' Red " officers, that is those produced 
by the miUtary training colleges under Bolshevik- 
rule, are, it is generally admitted, a failure, even as 
compared with the " war-time " officers of the later 
period, who had no very high reputation; genuine 
officers of the old school, however, and of the early 
part of the war, although forced to serve by the 
Bolsheviks, have no heart in the business, and may 
be counted on to do their least, even if they are 
unable to escape from bondage into the ranks of 
their deliverers. All officers up to forty-seven years 
are now pressed, and senior and staff officers to a 
considerably higher age. The difficulty of catching 
and keeping them may be judged from the fact that 
not only they, but their families and relations, being 
kept as hostages, are threatened with death should 
they attempt to desert; and this threat has in some 
cases been carried out. Even those who went into 
the Bolshevik service last year, with the exclusion of 
turncoat opportunists of the school of Kerensky's 
Minister of War, Verhovsky, almost exclusively did 
so as the only means open to them of procuring their 
daily bread. But the rank and file are not much 
more trustworthy. Desertion has reached significant 
proportions. When Trotsky visited the front at 
Saratov in September, not content with imprisoning 

146 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



the chief notables of the town in barges on the Volga, 
so that they might be massacred were an attempt 
made on his hfe, he was accompanied at every step 
by an armoured car, a squadron of Lettish cavalry, 
and a cyclist detachment, and when he addressed the 
troops spoke from the armoured car with machine- 
guns trained on his audience. The equipment of the 
soldiers is various, their comfort but little, and their 
discipline dependent on the knowledge that they will 
be shot if they break. There are also many bands of 
ruffians and criminals whose heart is in the cause of 
Bolshevism, so long as they can rob, rape, and bully ; 
their fighting value, however, against a well-equipped 
force must be small. Only in the artillery and the 
staff work where German officers are employed is 
anything like a respectable level attained, and 
German guns and material have already made their 
appearance and their weight felt on the southern 
front. The quality of the ordinary, pressed infantry 
may be judged from the following true story. At 
the time when a British detachment was rumoured 
to have arrived on the Narva front, Bolshevik troops 
were transferred from the Archangel front to meet 
the new menace. One battalion, arriving in Petro- 
grad and learning its destination, sent a deputation 
to the military commissariat with the following 
message : *' The battalion agrees to go to the Narva 
front, if the red tickets proving the men to be 
members of the Communist Party are taken away 

147 L 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



and certificates are issued in their place that the 
men are not Communists." If captured with red 
tickets, the English would hang them, they said. The 
request was refused; on which the entire battalion 
broke up and proceeded to its various homes in the 
villages as best it could. From this it would seem 
that even the spoliation of the well-to-do to provide 
presents for the Red Army is not convincing in face 
of a possible encounter with a British advance; not 
even though on one occasion a descent was made on 
the opera house in Petrograd and all the jewels found 
on ladies there were confiscated for this purpose. 
Such incidents would seem not to be rare; for in 
January two companies on duty on the Finnish 
frontier bolted and the men quietly disappeared. 
The further agreeable incident was reported at the 
beginning of April. The Bolsheviks moved one of 
their best regiments from the Beloostrov to the Narva 
front. So far, so good. But when they came to 
transfer another regiment in its place from Narva to 
Beloostrov, it was found that the latter only existed 
on paper : the men had hanged their commissar and 
all gone home. Lenin on hearing this remarked in 
his caustic way that the Red Army were like radishes 
— red outside, but white at the core. 

The Red Fleet is in an even more parlous state 
than the Red Army. If all the expert officers and 
men trained in technical branches from the remains 
of the Baltic Fleet that Admiral Schastny saved from 

148 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



the Germans, only to be shot by the Bolsheviks for 
it, were concentrated, and the necessary minimum of 
coal obtained, it is believed that a fleet consisting of 
one or perhaps two battleships, one cruiser, and a 
few destroyers could be put into sea-going trim ; but, 
even so, the engines and guns are in bad repair, and 
nothing like their proper speed could be expected of 
the ships; while the better the shooting, the less 
danger there would be to an Allied enemy fleet, since 
the gunnery officers, as they did once before, would 
certainly lay the guns wide. The sailors themselves 
are an uncertain quantity; at the end of October 
they made a demonstration in Petrograd in favour 
of free trade, but were pacified by their bread allow- 
ance being increased to Ij lb. per day and by a bonus 
of 3,000 Rs. per man, and although such methods 
have succeeded so far in restraining them, this cup- 
board loyalty to the Bolsheviks would give under 
pressure of adverse circumstances. An officer, 
escaped from Cronstadt, gives as his opinion that 
the fortress would surrender if a single British 
destroyer made its appearance and fired one shot. 

During the winter Petrograd has gone from bad 
to worse. Not to speak here of the hunger that preys 
upon men's minds and bodies, the fever of expectancy 
in which all live works ill results on health, and yet 
further reduces already shattered strength. The 
entire absence of trustworthy news and the unwilling- 
ness, nay, the impossibility, to believe that no one 

149 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



is coming to the rescue of tortured Russia, creates 
an atmosphere in which legend grows like rank 
jungle weed. Thus on October 30th, Petrograd was 
full of rumours of Voronesh taken by the Cossacks, 
of Krasnov and his men by some miracle advancing 
from Pskov, and that Rybinsk had been taken by 
the Czecho-Slovaks. From mid-November onwards 
daily rumours whipped our sunken spirits with news 
that the British fleet was at Reval. On the 17th, it 
had come beyond all doubt and with it sixteen ships 
brimming with flour, and they would be in Petrograd 
for sure by December 10th. On the 21st, it was told 
from a number of positively informed sources that 
the Russian fleet at Cronstadt had raised the St. 
Andrew's flag, put to sea, and steamed off to join 
the Allies, after silencing Fort Ino in a three hours' 
engagement. On the 12th, Sweden was already 
reported on the verge of war with the Bolsheviks ; on 
the 22nd, the Allied troops were in Finland and 
marching rapidly on Petrograd ; in December, it was 
a British aeroplane that flew over the capital, drop- 
ping rolls of white bread, and there were people 
whose friends had themselves seen and eaten them. 
In January a British force was located on the Narva 
front, and both then and when the news came that 
our fleet was preparing to enter the Baltic Sea there 
were panics in the capital. The chief Bolsheviks, 
under pretence of conferences with the Moscow 
authorities, fled; many Conciliar institutions began 

150 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



hurriedly to evacuate, and on the former occasion 
the entire Automobile Division was got ready for the 
road in three days, not to fight the British, but to 
run away from them. Neither Bolshevik nor anyone 
else knowing the facts doubts that a small force of 
good men, well equipped from a properly established 
base, could take Petrograd in a very short time ; and 
the shock of the capture of Petrograd would prob- 
ably disintegrate the whole Bolshevik machine and 
bring it smashing to the ground. The working 
classes of Petrograd, oppressed, hungry, drilled into 
line only by threat of cutting off their last food, have 
long lost any sympathy with Bolshevism. Work at 
the factories has become more and more irregular, 
owing to absence of raw material and fuel ; more and 
more factories have been closed; the purchasing 
power of the paper money has gone down and down ; 
and the stocks of all prime necessaries have grown 
less and less. On January 31st, fifty-three consider- 
able factories were shut at one fell swoop, and at the 
Putilov works, where normally twenty and during 
the war forty thousand men were employed, there 
were but from two to three thousand working, and 
these only working half time. A few weeks later 
serious trouble broke out there and at other factories. 
Zinoviev and the Swiss Platten were refused a hear- 
ing, and the former, though President of the Petro- 
grad Council, was insulted and dumped out of the 
works in a barrow. Rude jingles were inscribed on 

151 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

the walls : " Down with Lenin and horseflesh ! Long 
live the Tsar and pork ! " At the great Treugolnik 
rubber factory, the women cried : " Long live Little 
Father Kolchak ! " " little father " being a familial 
title exclusively given to the Emperor. Workmen 
being arrested, strikes ensued, accompanied by 
violence; the Left S.R.'s, who had patched up a truce 
with the Bolsheviks, judged the moment good for a 
rising, issued a manifesto, and attempted to blow 
up the waterworks on the Petrograd side, north of 
the Neva. Several minor commissars were assas- 
smated. The Bolsheviks, however, of whose faults 
indecision is not one, took their usual strong action ; 
a number of workmen were shot, others removed, 
resolutions of detestation of the strikers were manu- 
factured in other factory committees, the S.R.'s were 
denouncd as traitors and bourgeois assassins, and the 
outward surface became calm again. Petrograd, 
indeed all Russia, is a beleaguered fortress. There is 
not a man of honour, nor one of intelligence, save 
blackguards who have sold themselves to the Bol- 
sheviks, who has not the sensation of being besieged. 
But the peculiarity of this siege is that the assailing 
forces are within the fort, and, themselves enjoying 
plenty, are slowly starving the defenders to death. 

" The revolution is lost," said Plehanov to a friend 
within a month of his return to Russia in the spring 
of 1917. '' Russia must go back to the regime of the 
gendarme — no, to that of Nicolas I., to the gen- 

152 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



darme with a double knout ! " This patriotic Socialist 
foresaw even then the failure of the educated classes 
to organise, and, in view of their inefficiency, the 
success of brutality and treason. It was this ineffi- 
ciency that made the rise of Bolshevism possible ; and 
only efficient opposition can bring about its fall. 
Bolshevism has set out to destroy all civilised govern- 
ment, and will do so unless it is first destroyed. It 
is, as has been shown, essentially anti-democratic, 
and can no more make peace with democracy than 
anarchy with law. It is international in its principle 
and is directed against patriotism in every form. As 
it recognises no argument but force, treaties and con- 
ventions are but conveniences to gain, in Lenin's 
phrase, " a breathing space," or to make its oppo- 
nent waste valuable time. While straining every 
nerve of intrigue and duplicity to obtain peace with 
the Western Powers, the Bolsheviks are launching 
revolution in the East. Indian agitators, first im- 
ported from Berlin, have been trained in Moscow and 
are become the astutest of adepts. Egypt has not 
been neglected. The Mongolian troops are cherished, 
not only as unconcerned tools in carrying out every 
abomination devised by the Bolsheviks, but as 
evangelists to be let loose on China and raise the 
teeming millions of the Dragon Empire against Euro- 
pean order. Hungary and Bavaria are evidence of 
the futility of the " cordon sanitaire," and even if 
once suppressed, the mischief may break out again 

153 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

at any moment. Those who think that peace can be 
made with the Bolsheviks ignore not only the fact 
that their rule in Russia is based exclusively upon 
force and is the antithesis of representative govern- 
ment, but their avowed intention of carrying the war 
to its bitter end against the civilised democracies of 
the world. Even while the olive branch is held out, 
Bolshevik agents in various guises, among which the 
Red Cross figures largely, attempt to undermine the 
existing order in France, England, and Italy. For 
this purpose passports of Allied subjects have been 
stolen or are sought to be bought, up to 25,000 Rs. 
having been offered for a British passport. Conceal- 
ment on the main question there is none. " The Red 
Army," said Zinoviev at the end of February, '' is 
destined to fight in the streets of London, Paris, and 
Rome to defend the great cause of Communism." 
" A new peace now," wrote the Northern Commune 
a month later, " would assuredly not last long. It 
would come to grief in a world revolution in which 
the Imperialists would be beaten." When this is 
understood, there is one further lesson to be learnt. 
The only defence against Bolshevism is to attack the 
Bolsheviks. Against societies. Governments, and 
armies that are stationary their propaganda will 
always prove a successful solvent. Assailed with 
energy and courage, Bolshevism, like other forms of 
crime, will quickly be mastered. In the eiohteenth 
century, Europe put down the pirates of Algiers. 

154 



COMMUNISM IN PRACTICE 



The pirates who now have control of the Russian ship 
of State constitute a far greater danger. They have 
been suffered already too long. 

In two short years Russia has passed from the 
despotism of the Romanovs to experience to the full 
the despotism of the Social Democrats. According 
to the words of an Assistant People's Commissar, the 
change accomplished is that while formerly a hundred 
and eighty thousand landlords were happy, now two 
hundred and thirty thousand Bolsheviks are happy. 
The price paid for this has been the uprooting of 
culture, the crushing of the educated classes, the 
destruction of industry and commerce, the abolition 
of the slender habits of labour and discipline that 
existed before, the dispersion of wealth, the inculca- 
tion of bestiality and arrogance, and the extension 
of corruption through every grade of society. For 
the despotism of the Romanovs, which was respon- 
sible for encouraging sloth and servility and for pre- 
venting every attempt to raise the level of education 
and morals of the people, little indeed can be said. 
Nevertheless, in the most licentious moments of its 
orgies, in its cruellest measures of repression, in the 
stupidest outrages put by it on sentiments of liberty 
and progress, the dreams of its most fervid reac- 
tionary agents did not approach the hellish reality 
achieved in barely more than a year by the minions 
of German-Jewish Social Democracy known in the 
scroll of history as the Bolsheviks. 

155 



CHAPTER VI 

HUNGRY PETROGRAD 

The Russian empire comprises, or rather comprised, 
a seventh part of the habitable globe. The government 
• of Tambov alone is larger than the whole of France. 
Wheaten bread in Russia used to cost a penny the 
pound, and rye bread a halfpenny. The cornfields of 
Russia used not only to feed all Russia, so that all 
Russia was satiated, but to export thousands of tons 
of grain to foreign countries, among others sending to 
the British Isles over fifteen per cent, of the corn they 
consumed. How comes it then that the capital of 
Russia should be hungry ? It would seem as if some 
gigantic catastrophe of nature must have occurred to 
account for so astonishing a result, as if the very fields 
had been blasted and fruitful juices of the land dried 
up. No such thing. Petrograd is hungry, and 
Moscow, and Kozlov and Saratov too, for the matter 
of that, because the Bolsheviks wish them to be so. 
Why the Bolsheviks desire to starve Petrograd is a 
question we may leave for the moment and consider 
how the thing is done. The process, indeed, is 

156 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



absurdly simple. On every railway line leading into 
the city you intend to starve you establish at least two 
points at which every train is searched for provisions, 
and bread, sugar, butter, grain, and potatoes are 
taken away except so minute a portion of the first 
three as cannot suffice for a man for more than one, or 
at most two, days. At the exit from the station 
where the train arrives is a guard that again searches 
passengers' luggage, and the same thing is done at 
points established on every road leading into the city. 
Then you may be reasonably sure that only a mini- 
mum of provisions will find their way in. So much 
for the passenger trains. As to goods trains, the 
matter is not more difficult. First, all private dealing 
in provisions is prohibited, so impeded as to be made 
profitless. Then so low a price is fixed for articles of 
prime necessity that the peasant, w^ho is the producer, 
will not sell. Having thus crippled supply and choked 
distribution, you establish immense armies of in- 
experienced, incompetent, and corrupt officials, whose 
aim is to prevent the resuscitation of the one and the 
natural development of the other, send out bands of 
armed brigands into the country to requisition food 
at the prices aforementioned, and when as the result 
you obtain some nine trucks of food a day instead of 
the ninety normally demanded by the city, loudly pro- 
claim that this is due to bourgeois speculators who 
are battening on the blood of the poor. Nine trucks a 
day must be considered a favourable result : often less 

157 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

is obtained ; which is not surprising when it is consi- 
dered that over sixty per cent, of the locomotives in 
the country have been allowed to go out of repair and 
that less than two-thirds of the total number of trucks 
are in going order. To prevent any doubt on the 
subject, provisions can be delayed in transit until they 
have become bad. Thus in December, 1918, some 
hundred tons of potatoes for Petrograd were detained 
at a station a hundred and fifty miles distant until 
they were all frozen. Or, if this is not sufficient, they 
can be kept in the storehouses after arrival until they 
become completely rotten, the method adopted to 
deal with a large consignment of carrots a month 
earlier. 

If in the summer of 1917 anyone had engaged a 
servant, saying " You shall have an eighth, or if you 
work very hard a quarter, of a pound of poor black 
bread a day, a white roll once a year, horsemeat at 
14s. per lb. and beef at £2, no milk, no butter, no 
eggs, no cheese, lib. of paraffin a month, no tea, coffee 
at from £4 to £6 per lb., and pay 2s. for a tram ride, 
while I eat a pound of white bread, and have butter, 
meat, jam, sweets, chocolate, and my tram fares cost 
4d.," he would have been thought mad. Yet this is 
precisely what within eighteen months the Bolsheviks 
had done with the Russian public. Throughout the 
summer and to December, 1918, Petrograd was in this 
position. The Red Army and the true Communist 
officials had everything they wanted, and went about 

158 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



with ostentatiously well-fed looks ; workmen not in the 
direct employ of the Northern Commune, the govern- 
ment which the Petrograd Bolsheviks erected and the 
Moscow central Bolshevik machine afterwards de- 
stroyed, fared badly; the majority of the educated 
classes worse. 

A traveller returning to Petrograd in the autumn of 
1918 could not fail to be struck by the altered aspect of 
the town. He had come, of course, prepared for 
changes. He knew that hotels and restaurants no 
longer existed, that many principal shops were shut, 
and that there was a strict limit of space for inhabit- 
ants in " bourgeois " flats. He had come provided 
with as much food for his own use as he could smuggle 
through repeated searches, the last and most brutal of 
which was on arrival in Petrograd itself. But nothing 
could prepare one for the atmosphere of torpor, of 
decline and degradation that hung over everything. 
The very aspect of the railway station had changed. 
There was something unexpected about its appearance, 
a new impression queerly reminiscent of that experi- 
enced by one who for the first time steps from the 
platform of the station at Venice on to the broad 
stone pavement alongside her grand waterway. Not 
that there is any beauty about the Nicolas Station at 
Petrograd. Still, there was a resemblance. A few 
seconds and the connection was established. There 
were no cabs. Now on Sundays and at slack hours 
one may be accustomed to a difficulty of finding cabs, 

159 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



but at three o'clock on a week-day their absence from 
the yard of the central terminus in one of the chief 
European capitals creates a void in the picture that 
makes one shut his eyes and open them again to be 
sure that it is not a dream. Not a cab, and, what 
was more, obviously no expectation of cabs. Instead, 
a number of ancient men and boys with handcarts of 
diverse patterns, but all looking as though it were 
doubtful could their rickety springs and wheels reach 
the end of a journey once undertaken. When bar- 
gaining began, it appeared that fares had gone up to 
three and four times the figure of cab fares seven 
months before ; nor was that all, for not a man or boy 
would budge before he was promised, in addition to 
his money, a certain quantity of bread. For three 
pounds of bread one might have had a barrow and 
porter without opening one's purse ; and half an hour's 
shoving and carrying was finally agreed upon for one 
pound of bread and forty roubles. Without bread, 
twice the price would not start competition for the 
job; not even with the promise of cigarettes, that 
formerly were an Open Sesame. '' Cigarettes won't 
fill your stomach," remarked an old man sadly. 

Outside the station there were a few cabs, and the 
horses not in bad trim. But the fares they asked were 
prohibitive to any but '' Comrades." A cabman in a 
provincial town once answered, when expostulated 
with on the sum he demanded : ** Why, I'm only 
charging you sixty roubles, because I see you are a 

160 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



miserable ' boorjooee ' (bourgeois) and can't afford 
more. If you were a commissar, now, cr some other 
of the aristocracy, I should ask double ! " In Petro- 
grad no one but the new aristocracy could afford cabs 
even at the beginning of winter, and as the nights grew 
longer and colder, cabs became yet rarer and fares 
higher. Many of the horses were already eaten, and 
with the lapse of time the claims of the knacker 
became harder to resist. Besides, forage was so dear 
and so difficult to procure as to make it almost im- 
possible to keep horses profitably, not to mention that 
harness will frequently need minor repairs, cushions 
require patching, wheels greasing; and where was 
leather to come from, and needle and cotton, and oil ? 
Towards the end of October these were the ruling 
prices in Petrograd : Beef, 20 Rs. per lb., but very 
hard to get; no meat was given "by the card." 
Horsemeat, 7-9 Rs. plentiful; horsemeat shops had 
become among the most frequent and noticeable in 
the town, being advertised by signs depicting a noble 
steed disporting himself in the midst of green pastures. 
Fresh fish, 15 Rs., but hard to get of good quality, 
and only sold in small quantities. Salt fish : smoked 
herrings, 2.50-5 Rs. each; vobla, the cheapest and 
most despised of fish, with hardly any flesh on it, 
3.50 Rs. per lb., four going to the pound; sudak, an 
excellent Russian fish, 6-8 Rs. per lb. Herrings, 
indeed, cost 1.20-1.50 Rs. at co-operatives, by the 
card, but were very rarely given out. Potatoes, 3^30- 

161 M 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

3.60 Rs. per lb., at co-operatives 1.10-1.80; 'cabbage, 
2.60-2.80; beetroot, 3.60; turnips, 3: carrots, 4; 
onions, 6; coffee, real, 28-36, substitute 14-26; tea, 
40-50, but only to be found by chance; butter, 60; 
jam, made with sugar, 35, or with treacle, 15-25; 
sugar, 40-45 ; chocolate, 80 ; bread, 14, and rye flour 
15, but the latter very hard to obtain. Bread, by the 
card, 1.10, in the following proportions : 1st category, 
J lb. a day ; 2nd category, J lb. ; 8rd category, J lb. ; 
4th category, nothing. The quality of the bread v/as 
poor owing to a large admixture of straw. Tinned 
fish, of second-rate quality, was 5-12 Rs. a tin. ; 
tinned tomatoes, very poor and difficult to find, 
7-9 Rs. ; caviare, 18-45 Rs. per lb., according to 
quality ; and cheese was non-existent. 

There were, as has been mentioned, four categories, 
into which all Petrograd was divided for the purpose 
of receiving food. The first comprised workmen and 
persons directly in the employment of the Councils, 
and many of these, for various reasons, received addi- 
tional cards, entitling them to extra advantages. 
Mistresses of flats in which five or more lived, with- 
out a servant, also were counted in the first category. 
They received J lb. of bread a day, about fourteen 
herrings, and 10 lb. of potatoes a month, and an 
occasional dole of fat and sugar. Salt we were well 
off for all the winter, though there was a panic at one 
moment and the price outside the co-operatives went 
up to 7 Rs. per lb. The second category comprised 

162 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



all members of professional unions, who did not 
belong to the first category, and received, in addition 
to their J lb. of bread a day, rather fewer herrings 
and potatoes, and a pound of sugar once in six 
months. The third category got 4 lb. of bread and 
practically nothing else. The fourth, nothing at all. 

It must not, however, be thought that genuine Com- 
munists were restricted to their first category ration. 
These gentry have always had plenty, not only of 
bread and meat, but also of butter, chocolate, and 
sweets as well. They had naturally their own means 
of obtaining supplies, while recourse could always be 
had to perquisitions in the flats of those suspected to 
have food and to requisition of the slender stores that 
unfortunate citizens had been reckoning on for the 
winter. To the unprivileged, the distribution of food 
took place through the co-operatives that were 
founded in 1917 by combinations of house committees 
and employees in Government departments, or to such 
as had no means of obtaining membership in them, 
through " town-stores," which, poor as the co- 
operatives might be, were distinctly worse. There 
were also a large number of ** social dining-rooms," 
commonly known as "stolovki," where dinner could 
be obtained for 3 Rs. 50 kop. " How cheap ! " will 
be the first comnient; the second, '' Hm, perhaps." 
For the word dinner was a misnomer. A plate of soup 
without meat or fat, consisting, indeed, of hot water 
into which a few lentils or pieces of dried cabbage had 

168 M 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

found their way, a small portion of vobla minced and 
dished up with a little potato, and occasionally, but 
not always, a thin slice of bread, made up the whole 
of the repast. At some of these dining-rooms there 
was a plat du jour, generally consisting of two small 
rounds of minced horse, and costing 12 Rs. The 
stolovki were now in their heyday; afterwards they 
fell on evil times ; but even in their prime it cannot be 
said that the meal provided could claim to be more 
than a rather sickly lunch. By no power of imagina- 
tion could it be thought of as a real dinner, and it is 
interesting to note, as giving a standard of values, that 
it cost thirty-five times as much, and probably con- 
tained thirty-five times as little sustenance, as the 
dinner provided by the Great Britain to Poland and 
Galicia Fund to refugees two years before. The 
dining-rooms, further, were dirty, and the wooden 
spoons and primitive knives and forks provided 
repulsive. There were, indeed, a few stolovki of 
superior quality; one, for instance, got up for the 
benefit of musical students at the Conservatorium, 
and another attached to an experimental school of 
cookery, where a decent, if slender, meal that might 
be considered dinner was served, and where the floor 
and utensils were clean and the kitchen above sus- 
picion. 

The premises of former restaurants were naturally 
commandeered for stolovki, and the better the estab- 
lishment had been, the worse it now became. To 

164 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



turn the halls of The Bear and of Contant's, as who 
should say the Carlton and the Savoy, into a common 
scene of dilapidation and dirt was a policy doubtless 
pleasing to the masters of Petrograd as affording 
ocular proof of the extent of the degradation they had 
inflicted upon manners and the elegances of life. 

Since the third category, which comprised all the 
educated classes not in the employment of the Coun- 
cils and not having a trade behind which to shield 
themselves, received nothing but J lb. of bread, great 
efforts were made to get into the second category, 
which received J lb. of bread and occasional other 
supplies. To this end professional, or, as we should 
say, trade unions multiplied and expanded. Once 
great ladies engaged themselves as waitresses in cafes, 
partly for the wages, but partly for the privilege their 
position conferred of joining the waiters' union. It 
was probably to prevent this that in November the 
majority of these cafes were shut up, just as the for- 
merly numerous shops where secondhand articles 
were sold on commission were shut in order to prevent 
the '' bourgeois " from earning money by sale of 
goods that the " Comrades " preferred should be kept 
until a convenient opportunity for robbery. The 
daughters of a well-known publisher, whose business 
had been confiscated, eagerly sought small posts in 
the institution known at the Proletkult, a pretentious 
centre of bad art for the masses, that had installed 
itself in the beautiful building of the Assemblee de la 

165 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Noblesse. But when it was found that the professional 
unions might thus become a shelter for the educated, 
attention was turned to these bodies themselves, and 
in February the process of " democratising " them, 
in other words, of turning the decent element out of 
their management, in order to give place to the un- 
mitigated cad, was the order of the day. 

For a month prices remained steady. Lists of 
figures do not convey the full pictures, but it is of 
interest to note that, on November 10th, forty-two 
pounds of potatoes, nine and a half pounds of onions, 
and seven pounds of low quality salt fish cost 275 
roubles, or, at the old rate of exchange, £27 10s. And 
how long would this last ? The food of a well-to-do 
person in Petrograd at this date may be reckoned 
at Ij lb. of fish of the above description, 1 lb. of 
potatoes, i to f lb. of bread, and perhaps ^ lb. of 
some other vegetables. The fish, it should be said, 
was weighed with the bones, which constituted the 
greater part of it. For four people, then, the pota- 
toes would last ten days, or, with extra economy, 
say a fortnight. The fish little over one day. It 
may be judged, therefore, how intolerably expensive 
life had become. To exist on the amount sold by 
the card would have been wholly impossible, and it 
was necessary to buy supplies at the market, that 
is, at contraband rates. Let us now consider the 
day's meals. Breakfast would consist of a small 
piece of bread and perhaps a slice or two of a large 

166 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



vegetable called redka, with the crisp flavour and 
taste of a mild radish ; dinner of herring soup boiled 
with potatoes, and served with the herrings in it, a 
dish of some other boiled vegetables, perhaps cab- 
bage, at 5 Rs. a pound, or beetroot at 6; for supper 
the remains of the soup heated up, with perhaps a 
couple of vobla, first beaten with a hammer in order 
to be eatable, and then grilled on top of the stove, 
with small pieces of bread again at supper and 
dinner. For variety, the soup might be of the kind 
called " uha," which delicately made and of expen- 
sive fish was Rasputin's favourite, seasoned with 
onions, peppercorns, and laurel leaves, but the fish was 
extracted and served to us poor folk, who dare not 
waste a morsel, as a separate, if tasteless, dish. Not 
a crumb is allowed to fall to the ground, but is dili- 
gently treasured, and then, when enough have been 
saved, made into little patties with the grounds of 
used coffee, baked and served as cakes. Similar 
little cakes could also be made out of rye, sold by 
smugglers at 13 to 14 Rs. per lb. The quantity of 
food above described does not perhaps sound entirely 
insufficient. Nor indeed is it insufficient to support 
life and a fair amount of strength, and when one is 
hungry all the time the absence of variety does not 
make the difference commonly supposed. What, 
however, was extremely trying was the absence of 
fat and sugar. These, as will be seen from the fore- 
going account, did not enter at all into the day's 

167 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

bill of fare. Milk was only obtainable with great 
difficulty for infants and invalids. One might as a 
great treat have a little butter, or a lump of sugar, 
or a sweet; but this would be by way of a rarity, 
and, however agreeable, could not substantially add 
to the sustenance afforded by the regular diet of 
salt fish and potatoes. Neither butter, nor oil, nor 
other fat were obtainable except at such high prices 
as to be prohibitive except to the very rich, that 
is to say, commissars and their friends, speculators, 
and millionaires who had made their peace with the 
Bolsheviks by means of huge bribes. One man who 
had made half a million sterling out of opium smug- 
gling said : "I don't admit the existence of hunger 
or of cold." But then he was able to spend twenty- 
five or thirty thousand roubles a month on household 
expenses. Another, still richer, so late as Christmas, 
laughed at the suggestion that there was famine in 
Petrograd. His table was laden with bread, game, 
caviare, and sugar, and it was nothing to him that 
there might be people with incomes of a thousand 
roubles a month who could afford none of the last 
three. For ordinary mortals diet consisted of pota- 
toes and salt fish. Those who could afford to buy 
enough of them lived badly; those who could not 
lived worse, or died. 

Besides the high price of food another very dis- 
advantageous circumstance was the difficulty of 
getting it, and the immense amount of time spent in 

168 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



doing so. Every morning some one of the household 
would have to go to the co-operative for the day's 
ration of bread. This entailed standing in a queue 
for perhaps twenty, perhaps fifty minutes. Some- 
times bread was only given out in the afternoon, 
sometimes not for a couple of days running. To get 
potatoes, the same procedure was necessary, but in 
the street, and this, as anyone who knows the Petro- 
grad climate must be aware, was no joke. Even so, 
prolonged search would be necessary to find a hawker 
with potatoes, who would, moreover, refuse to sell 
more than a few pounds to one customer. In order 
to obtain a whole sack, favour must be made with 
some official at a district supply committee, involv- 
ing the expenditure of much time, ingenuity, and 
cajolery, from whom an illicit order might be ob- 
tained on his depot. Then, going thither after dark 
with his sack, the fortunate purchaser would have 
to shoulder his treasure and trudge back with it, 
making use of a tram should one happen to go his 
way and not be so crowded as to preclude the possi- 
bility of dumping his load on to the step. Herrings, 
vobla, and other vegetables had to be purchased 
either in the open market at prices considerably 
higher than those quoted, or at a co-operative 
attached to some favoured institution, such as the 
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs or the Admiralty, 
on a card of membership lent by a considerate 
possessor of one. And all these things could be 

169 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

obtained not every day, and had when bought to be 
carried back by hand, the purchaser, moreover, 
bringing his own string with him, since string was 
one of the many commodities in Petrograd that was 
becoming rare by degrees and beautifully less. 

By the middle of December the food situation had 
taken a turn for the worse. Sugar had gone to 
60 Rs., butter to 100, chocolate to 150. Bad fat 
was quoted at 40 to 50, cocoanut oil at 30, and pota- 
toes at 8 to 12 were hardly obtainable. This was not 
a question of the price : more than 12 Rs. per lb. 
was not asked for potatoes, but it was considered the 
greatest stroke of luck if they could be found at all. 
Smoked herrings were now at 10 to 17 Rs. each, 
according to size, turnips 15 Rs. per lb., and at the 
co-operatives there was nothing to be had but the 
bread ration, saccharine at 6 to 8 Rs. a gramme, 
lemon essence, and tea substitutes. Even coffee 
substitutes had given out. Bread was at 15 Rs. 
Poor tinned fish cost 20 to 30 Rs. the tin. Food- 
shops of practically every description except 
fruiterers' — and in Russia vegetables are not sold by 
fruiterers — had been shut by order of the Bolsheviks. 
Apples cost 5 to 6 Rs. each. The pigeons, formerly 
one of the sights of the Petrograd streets and con- 
sidered as sacred birds that might not be touched, 
had now vanished, whether eaten or themselves 
starved to death; and this was also the case in 
Moscow. Dogs and cats were beginning to be eaten. 

170 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



At the same time, trains of geese and other delicacies 
were arriving for the Christmas dinner of the Putilov 
workmen. One ray of sunshine had indeed been ours 
in the gloom of gathering despair : the Bolshevik 
anniversary. For weeks before it had been announced 
that in celebration of this event there would be an 
extra distribution of food, and expectancy as the 
great day neared went up to fever point. 

On November 6th, immense, agitated queues 
waited for the white rolls that had been promised, 
and when up to midnight there was in some districts 
no sign of them, many loudly complained that the 
Bolsheviks had hoaxed us and there would be no 
rolls at all. However, next day the Cassandras were 
discomfited ; all Petrograd had the joy of eating rolls 
about the size of the A. B.C. 2d. article, with a few 
currants stuck in them, and rather stale. The first 
two categories also received yV lb. of tea and the first 
J lb. of fat. To get J lb. of fat, a lady who managed 
for a household of seven stood in a queue from ten 
to midnight and again next morning from nine to 
eleven o'clock. Nobody but workmen and Conciliar 
officials got any fat at all. It must be said that for 
the most part Petrograd was pleased. There is a 
Russian story of a peasant who applied to his parish 
priest for a recipe for happiness. He was miserable 
in his home, he said, quarrelled with his wife, and 
wanted to learn how to escape from affliction. The 
priest, taking his promise to obey exactly, ordered 

171 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



him to add his pig to the number of his household. 
The peasant's discomfort was only increased. At 
the end of the month the cow was added, the peasant 
still bore it; but when, at the end of the second 
month, the priest ordered that the horse, too, should 
be taken into the house, it was almost too much 
to bear. Still the peasant bore it, and only at the 
end of the third month prayed to be relieved of 
the intolerable burden. Then the priest told him to 
put all the animals out of the house again. The 
peasant came back overjoyed : *' Oh, I am so 
happy," he said, '' I have never known such happi- 
ness ! " '* Just so," answered the priest, " and I 
have shown you that happiness and misery are 
relative. Now you know how really happy you were 
before." Petrograd was like the peasant of the 
story. Anyone, it might be thought, would recog- 
nise the mockery of getting the ^' anniversary " pro- 
visions that were distributed by the Bolsheviks, 
when three weeks earlier they had been rushing 
trains of flour to the help of the *' starving " Ger- 
mans. But it was not so. The simple Russian 
public were as pleased as a child with a toy. It is 
not their nature to reason deeply. Give them white 
rolls every day and they will be discontented ; 
starve them on black bread, and one sudden white 
roll delighted them. This was of the same nature 
as the paradox that Russians, if paid regularly or 
by contract, will do as little as possible, that little 

172 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



often amounting to nothing. If not paid and given 
an occasional tip, much can be got out of them. 

Nevertheless, with or without the anniversary 
doles, it was impossible for the average household 
to obtain enough provisions to maintain itself at 
home. Recourse must inevitably be had to a 
stolovka to eke out the paltry supplies of the 
domestic cupboard. By December fresh fish had 
become unobtainable, and caviare too expensive and 
tinned fish too poor to be of assistance. 

A member of the public, however, could not enter 
a stolovka and make a meal as and when he liked; 
he must have a card entitling him to eat at a par- 
ticular stolovka, and then for the period of a month 
at least he could not change. Other restaurants and 
dining-rooms, like hotels, had long been abolished. 
At the Sailors' Club, formerly the Hotel Regina, 
strangers could have a slight repast for fifteen 
roubles, with the fun thrown in of seeing able seamen 
spend 300 or 400 Rs. on their lunch, and take out 
sheets of " Kerenkies " with which to pay, cutting 
off the twenty or forty rouble notes with a scissors. 
Otherwise, a newcomer to Petrograd might well 
starve. 

And, in fact, newcomers and old inhabitants, all 
did starve. Since the spring of 1918 the majority 
had doubtless had too little food, perhaps from a half 
to three-quarters of what they would have eaten in 
normal times. It is hardly an exaggeration to say 

178 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

that a healthy man was never during this period 
without a keen appetite, even at the moment of 
rising from table after his best meal. The reason is 
not far to seek. Even during the summer there had 
been a deficiency of eggs, bread, milk, butter, sugar, 
and cheese, these all being obtainable, but at prices 
that compelled much less than usual of them to be 
eaten. Very many people, owing to the high price 
of meat and the difficulties of a domestic household, 
dined at vegetarian restaurants, where the greater 
part of the food consisted of cabbage and potatoes 
served in unsatisfying portions. Before winter, 
these, too, were closed. Thus we had already been 
hungry for several months, when, from what before 
had seemed meagre fare but to a backward glance 
was plenty itself, we were plunged into a condition 
of famine prices and famine products. In such cir- 
cumstances life becomes reduced to the simplest and 
the most disagreeable terms. You cannot go to 
friends, because they will feel obliged to offer some- 
thing, and you know what an expense this means. 
You cannot invite friends to you, because of the bill 
it will run up, and the extra exertion that will be 
required to obtain food to replace what they have 
eaten. You cannot buy anything not essential, 
because the price represents so much food. You 
cannot go anywhere that is not absolutely necessary, 
since movement requires expenditure of energy, 
which again demands more food to be made up. 

174 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



You have to think all day of food — how to get it, 
and when, and what you will get. Only the stimulus 
of a task that must be done by a certain time can 
prevent the mind from dwelling upon food, and, in 
spite of the energy expended, it is far preferable to 
be in constant work of an exacting character than 
to be able to husband one's strength, but have the 
mind free to be preyed on by the ceaseless pictures 
with which an empty stomach fills the imagination. 
Actors and singers took to asking for payment, at 
least partly, in kind. To bribe their goodwill the 
Bolsheviks put members of the State Theatre com- 
panies in the first category. A celebrated tenor gave 
a concert for a fee of five pounds of sweets. Many 
obtained employment in organising entertainments 
for the Red Army, and were glad of the chance to 
get food from their new patrons. Conversation in 
Petrograd other than that necessitated by work had 
come to be exclusively on the subject of food. Have 
you found butter ? What did you pay for it ? How 
much is bread ? Will there be a distribution of sugar 
at Christmas ? How much wood have you ? Can 
paraffin be obtained ? Is it true that the potatoes 
for December are all frozen ? Alas ! this was true, 
and almost every such question, and there are 
thousands, invariably received unfavourable answers. 
The hardest deprivation was probably the absence 
of fat in the cooking, for want of which, people, while 
they could, frequently had recourse to vaseline, or 

175 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

cotton-seed oil, or castor oil. But vaseline rapidly 
became so expensive as to be unusable, and castor 
oil, though its use in cooking is not attended by dis- 
agreeable consequences, has a most unpleasant taste. 
Cotton-seed oil is definitely unwholesome, and the 
majority, therefore, fell back upon boiling. Now a 
diet of boiled fish, so salt that it must be boiled 
almost to the point of tastelessness not to cause a 
devouring thirst, and boiled vegetables, in the quan- 
tities above mentioned, has nothing dreadful about 
it at the moment, but being indulged in for weeks 
together produces physical weakness and nervous 
exhaustion. Legs begin to get limp, feet to shuffle, 
the heart resents going upstairs, sleep becomes 
broken; nervous control ceases to be automatic; 
moments occur when without warning or reason the 
fingers drop objects they hold; sudden fits of elation 
seize you, alternating with periods of depression as 
irrational and uncontrollable but of longer duration. 
Physical work that before was normal becomes an 
almost insupportable burden, and men grow pale and 
thin and hollow-cheeked, mere ghosts of what they 
were before. Prolonged hunger produces, too, a 
debasing effect on character. It becomes an effort 
not to envy others their food. The eye involuntarily 
follows each morsel from dish to plate, automatically 
measures each helping, and resents hospitality shown 
to others. Persons, perhaps thoroughly trustworthy 
before, take to pilfering. The mind grows warped, 

176 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



and thoughts diseased and mean. In every man's 
heart fear becomes an abiding guest. 

This process of muscular, mental, and nervous 
decay was doubtless accelerated by excessive drink- 
ing, not of alcohol, but of tea or tea substitute. Con- 
sidered as a drug, the tea of Petrograd was so weak, 
owing to its costliness, as to be harmless, drunk in 
whatever quantity, and the substitutes were mostly 
made of wholesome berries ; but what was extremely 
harmful was the quantity of liquid drunk. For two 
reasons it was scarcely possible not to indulge in this 
habit. First, to cheat the stomach; for although the 
stomach gets accustomed to the smaller fare, the feel- 
ing of hunger does not decrease. Woe betide the man 
who by chance eats a meal even half the size of a 
good old-time meal; violent stomach-ache ensues, in 
the midst even of which he does not cease to be 
hungry. But liquid may be imbibed to an astonish- 
ing extent, and for the time undoubtedly staves off 
the pangs of hunger, only afterwards to increase 
weakness by putting an extra strain on the kidneys 
and the heart. By the end of November, while on 
the one hand it was common to see persons of 
formerly solid appearance now as thin as laths, and 
the sight of men falling in the street from exhaustion 
no longer caused the least surprise, on the other there 
were those who to a casual glance had flourished and 
even grown fat under famine treatment, being in 
reality swollen from drinking too much. The other 

177 N 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

reason was the desire for warmth. Petrograd was 
not only hungry, but cold. A Dutch stove, of the 
pattern universally used in Russian towns, requires 
from five to ten logs of wood a day to keep the room 
reasonably warm, which for a five-roomed flat and 
kitchen spells an expenditure of about a " sagen " 
a week. This, which is the Russian measure of wood, 
is commonly translated "fathom"; but, without 
exact dimensions being given, it is enough to say 
that in Petrograd in 1914 a sagen cost 8 roubles, in 
1915, from 15 to 18, and had gone up by November, 
1917, to 300 roubles, at which price it was very 
difficult to obtain. To keep a flat warm during the 
winter would have cost some 12,000 roubles, and to 
obtain the quantity of wood required would have 
been impossible. We therefore lived in cold rooms, 
happy when the temperature was over 50° Fahren- 
heit, and no whit surprised when it was under 40°. 
People often put on their fur coats, as they did in 
theatres, which were not warmed at all, but for long 
at a time together this is very tiring. A tempera- 
ture of, say, 53° does not sound terrible, but is so 
to people weak from want of food, who come in from 
perhaps 10° or 15° below zero in the street. There- 
fore everyone drank tea, and yet more tea, because 
it was hot, and there was no other way of getting 
heat. 

As the winter drew on, the shortage of fuel began 
to make itself felt in other ways than the coldness 

178 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



of living rooms. The Russian kitchen, for instance, 
is furnished with a flat-topped stove that takes from 
five to nine logs of wood for an hour's cooking, 
according to the skill of the stoker and the quality 
of the wood. It is innocent of gas-rings or other 
labour-saving devices. As this quantity of wood 
meant a serious drain upon slender stores, cooking 
was largely done on a miniature stove known as an 
" economka," designed, it is said, by a Petrograd 
workman, and given by the local councils to all 
Communists gratis. An economka would cook a 
dinner with an expenditure of two logs of wood, but 
had the disadvantage that it gave but little warmth 
to the kitchen, where the cook thus worked in an 
atmosphere about freezing point, and required to 
be stoked the whole time with small morsels of wood 
chopped for the purpose ; if left to itself for five 
minutes it would go out. Moreover, only one dish 
could be cooked at a time on it, so that while the 
potatoes were cooking the soup got cold, and water 
for washing up would have to be heated separately 
after dinner, entailing yet more chopping. 

An even worse effect of the fuel shortage was 
the deterioration of the tramway service. Without 
any actual breakdown, the efficiency of the 
service, that had formerly been high, gradually 
declined ; by the end of November about half the 
total number of cars had been taken off, the 
remainder were running at not much more than half- 

179 N 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



speed, and were insufferably crowded, the fare, too, 
being put up by degrees from the 10 kopeck rate of 
1917 to a rouble. Moscow was, however, worse off 
in this respect even than Petrograd. The cars were 
older and in worse repair, and by the end of the 
summer of 1918 probably no more than a third of 
the normal number were on the road; while to get 
a place often meant waiting for twenty minutes or 
half an hour, and always having a free fight. The 
state of the trams may seem at first sight remote 
from the question of food; but locomotion, or the 
want of it, is a matter of much concern to the under- 
fed. Uncertainty in the running cf the trams also 
occasions great unpunctuality, which beyond its 
ordinary regrettable consequences produces specially 
bad results on persons living without servants. Many 
of the intelligentsia were now entirely without domes- 
tics, owing to various reasons. First, servants' 
wages were exceedingly high; secondly, a servant 
must be fed, which was very costly and difficult; 
then bad company might be introduced into the 
house, with robbery and murder as the consequence ; 
besides which, many servants, being country girls, 
had gone back to their villages to escape from 
hunger in Petrograd. But the chief reason was that 
once a servant were admitted into your house, you 
were entirely at her mercy, seeing that objection to 
her demand, however unreasonable, might be 
answered by a denunciation, and that formal appli- 

180 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



cation to a Bolshevik authority could only lead to 
Lisa's or Masha's justification, and possibly to the 
imposition of a heavy fine on the applicant '* bour- 
geois." Members of the household, therefore, or of 
the groups who banded together for meals for the 
sake of economy, took it in turns to make the stoves, 
fetch the provisions, and cook the dinner, and a 
delay of half an hour in heating, marketing, or 
serving the dinner might make a sensible difference 
to strength and spirits for the day. 

Such was the state of Petrograd, viewed from the 
angle of supplies, when the seriously cold weather 
began and an immediate disaster occurred. Up to 
mid-December it had been possible for much money 
to obtain everything. There was a rich man who gave 
a feast on the occasion of his daughter's wedding. 
He was on particularly good terms with the Bol- 
sheviks, and the feast was given exactly as it would 
have been in the old days, with white bread, un- 
limited " zakuski," and wine. There were forty 
guests, and the cost was a round 28,000 roubles. But 
on December 20th a terrific snowstorm took place 
between Tambov and Moscow, raging with intervals 
for five days and blocking the southern lines for a fort- 
night, and the miserably few trucks of flour that had 
wormed their way up from the teeming cornfields of 
the Volga entirely stopped. Petrograd was without 
bread. Not only did the price leap up ten roubles, 
but it was impossible to obtain at all, since anyone 

181 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



who had bread refused to sell at a moment when it 
was uncertain how long the block might last. In- 
stead of bread the Bolsheviks distributed oats; not 
oatmeal, nor even cleaned oats, but oats in the husk, 
exactly as they are given to horses. There were 
two ways in which they could be prepared : either 
by boiling them into a broth, from which the husks 
could be fished out when served, or by passing them 
laboriously through a coffee mill and then making a 
kind of clammy porridge. But, just as there were 
people who, following the custom of Russian hors 
d^oeuvres, ate their ration of salt herring raw, thereby 
frequently developing catarrh of the stomach, with 
a predisposition to dysentery and cholera, so many 
unwisely made their oats into little cakes and scones 
to replace bread, and in this form ate them, husks 
and all, to the great increase of intestinal and throat 
trouble. And when trains began again fitfully to 
run, the food situation of Petrograd had taken 
another big jump on the downhill path towards the 
abyss that it afterwards reached. Bread, that had 
gone to 26 Rs. per lb., went down to 18 to 22, and 
butter to 75 to 90, but beef stood at 30, veal 28, 
horse 14. W^ood cost 2 Rs. the log, and matches 
2 Rs. a box. Loaf sugar was at 90 to 120, sand 
sugar 55, tea 100, coffee 75, coffee substitutes 55, and 
candles 20 Rs. per lb. The price of white flour, a 
great rarity, was quoted at 30 to 85 Rs. per lb., and 
rye flour at 22 to 25. Oatmeal could be had at 28, 

182 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



macaroni at 40, rice for 30 ; but all only to be found 
by chance or after much private inquiry, every trans- 
action being shrouded in the deepest mystery. 
Smoked herrings were 17 to 26 Rs. each. Milk, of 
very poor quality, could be had without much diffi- 
culty at 12 to 14 Rs. a pint, and paraffin at 5 to 7 Rs. 
per lb., the latter much in demand for cooking with 
Primus heaters. It is scarcely surprising that, under 
such conditions, and with the temperature going 
from hard frost to slushy warmth and again back to 
bitter cold, disease played havoc, and the death-rate 
in Petrograd increased to between three and four 
thousand a day, or that in December and January 
together sixteen thousand died of sheer starvation. 
Cats' and dogs' flesh, which had already begun to 
be eaten, now were regularly quoted at the street 
markets at 2.50 and 3 to 4.50 Rs. per lb. Horrible 
things began to take place. Cases were reported 
where horses, dying of starvation in the streets, were 
watched by ravenous crowds, who, when they judged 
the last moment had come, flung themselves on the 
poor wretch and hacked up the carcase on the spot. 
A still living horse was on one occasion observed to 
be gnawed by a band of starving dogs. Stories of 
cannibalism began to be current, coming first from 
suburban villages, always the worst off for food, and 
then becoming persistent in Petrograd and Moscow 
themselves. At the beginning of January a woman 
in Moscow went mad from the belief that her two 

183 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



children, who had gone one morning as usual to fetch 
the daily bread and had never returned, had been 
abducted and murdered in order to be eaten. For 
long it seemed impossible that such a depth of loath- 
some need should be possible in a European country, 
but there is unfortunately little room to doubt that 
by March, if not before, such practices did exist, 
and that the Chinese executioners, maintained by 
the Bolsheviks, drove a grisly trade by selling their 
victims' flesh for food. 

Before the great snowstorm Moscow, though in a 
worse position for trams, was considerably better off 
for food than the northern capital. As late as the 
third week in December, bread in Moscow cost 
1 R. 10 kop. by the card, as against 1 R. 52 kop. in 
Petrograd, and privately 12-13 Rs. per lb. ; sugar 60, 
butter 60, pork 40, beef 20-24, horse 13, potatoes 4-6, 
but said to be very difficult to procure without the aid 
of a friend at court, viz., in a commissariat. Chickens 
were 120-180 Rs. each. Wood and milk were the same 
price as in Petrograd, but harder to obtain. In the 
course of three months meat had twice been distri- 
buted by the card. Soap, sold by the card in insuffi- 
cient quantities, was 5 Rs. a piece ; in the market 17, 
and bad quality at that. The big markets at Moscow 
had from the summer onwards been the scene of fre- 
quent fracas, raids being made on the illicit tradesmen 
by the Red Guards, accompanied by arrests and shots. 
'* Stolovki " in Moscow were not so completely or- 

184 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 

ganised as in the capital, and consequently better. 
There were fewer of them, and a meal was 5 Rs., but a 
card unnecessary to obtain it. That the famine prices 
were not due to any lack of provisions in the country is 
proved by those ruling at the same time at Rogachev, 
a town in the government of Mogilev, one night's jour- 
ney from Moscow : beef 6 Rs. per lb., black bread 2.50, 
bread not being given by card at all, wheat flour 5, 
butter 30, cheese 30, sugar 15 and sand sugar 8, good 
sausage 8, milk 1 R. a pint, eggs 6-7 Rs. for ten, 
chickens 8-12 Rs. each ; white vegetables, sweets, and 
cakes were to be had in abundance. It may be thought 
that the difference was due to the breakdown of trans- 
port, but though the chaotic state of the railways and 
the ruinous condition of rolling stock must have in 
any case raised prices in the capitals, the chief reason 
was that Moscow was held tight in the Bolsheviks' 
grip, whereas the government of Mogilev had only 
recently fallen into their hands and that they had not 
yet succeeded in putting the screw firmly on. Prices, 
however, were already going up, and doubtless before 
long reached the starvation limit invariably touched 
under pressure of the Bolshevik rule. That this and 
no other is the main cause of the famine in Russia is 
proved by the case of Saratov. This attractive and 
well-built town is the centre of one of the world's chief 
corn districts, has all the wealth of the Volga and of 
Astrakhan at its feet, has cattle close at hand, and is 
an important depot for mineral oil, currants, and every 

185 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

form of produce from the shores of the Caspian. All 
through the summer the position of Saratov had been 
doubtful. The Czecho-Slovaks had on several occa- 
sions been within a hundred versts of it, and Tsaritsin, 
further south on the Volga, had been constantly 
threatened by General Krasnov's Cossacks. In Sep- 
tember everything was obtainable there, and at 
reasonable prices. The bazaar, for markets in the 
south of Russia are so called, overflowed with eggs, 
vegetables, and fruit. Milk, butter, meat, currants, 
and various grain were to be had in abundance. White 
bread was 3 Rs. per lb., and this although contraband. 
But with the capture of Simbirsk by the Bolsheviks in 
the middle of the month their position at Saratov im- 
proved, and three weeks later was made entirely secure 
by the fall of Samara. The result on supplies was 
at once apparent. Already there had been much 
grumbling among the populace at the interference of 
the Reds with trade, and their requisitioning of butter 
and flour, one workman, a rubber repairer, declaring 
that he was better off before the revolution on sixty 
roubles a month, with lodging thrown in, than since on 
fifteen hundred. Now the Bolsheviks felt themselves 
strong enough to apply with proper thoroughness their 
system of, in their words, socialising food supplies, but, 
in the public's view, causing artificial hunger. By the 
end of the year they had achieved a success that must 
be thought remarkable when it is considered that the 
country round teemed with food of every description. 

186 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



First butter disappeared from the market, then flour ; 
milk became extremely rare ; and the supply of fish, 
that, owing to lack of river transport, had been feeble 
before, ceased altogether. Before Christmas the bazaar 
was wholly shut. No eggs, meat, butter, vegetables, 
or indeed food of any description, was to be had 
openly, except in minute quantities issued by the card. 
The distribution of meat entirely ceased. Bread was 
sold by the card, | or ^ lb., according to category; 
good brown bread, but too fresh when sold. But the 
sale of private, that is, contraband bread stopped, not, 
however, because there was none in Saratov, for every 
peasant driving into the town brought four or five 
white loaves with him, hidden in the hay at the bottom 
of his sledge, but because Bolshevik money had ceased 
to have any value for the peasants and they would 
only sell bread in exchange for goods that paper money 
could not buy. Sugar was 70 Rs. per lb., tea 65, 
butter 45, lard 30, sausage 25, cigarettes a rouble each, 
tobacco 150 Rs. per lb. As none of these were distri- 
buted by the card at all, persons of moderate means 
in Saratov, though not starving as in Moscow and 
Petrograd, literally hungered in the midst of plenty. 
Wood was the same price as in the capitals. Moreover, 
the watch kept by the Reds was so strict that peasants 
would deal only with those who had long-established 
connections with them, for fear of denunciation. The 
writer, once coming into an acquaintance's flat where 
a transaction with butter and sausage was in process, 

187 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

saw three strapping peasants, intelligent men from the 
German colony, two or more generations in Russia, 
blanch and tremble all over for fear he might be an 
emissary of the Bolsheviks. Yet the Germans had 
enjoyed protection above others, and the last shop 
where butter could be bought in the town had been 
kept by a German woman. 

An argument used in favour of the Baconian theory 
is that, were Shakespeare really the author of his 
plays, he would never have condescended to bequeath 
his four-poster and other household objects in his will. 
Those who may have felt a certain astonishment at this 
and at the attention paid to personal articles in letters 
and diaries of the seventeenth century, would have 
quickly got over their surprise after a few weeks of life 
under the Bolsheviks. When little is made and hardly 
anything can be bought, the least trifles come to have 
a special value, since they are irreplaceable. Clothes, 
boots, gloves, goloshes, these were treasures far above 
their nominal worth, because they could not be ob- 
tained. Footgear, it is not too much to say, was a 
tragedy in Petrograd. Very inferior boots could be 
bought, after diligent search, at from 200 to 600 
roubles, but goloshes, almost an essential of Russian 
life, were not to be had at all. The official theory that 
one pair of boots at 80 Rs., and one pair of goloshes at 
30, were obtainable by every member of the popula- 
tion, had no relation to fact, and it was common to see 
people otherwise well dressed with their toes coming 

188 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



through the holes in their worn-out boots. Linen also 
became most rare, and frayed collars and torn blouses 
objects that no longer attracted attention or demanded 
explanation. Only Bolsheviks had the means to be 
well dressed. Ladies' cotton or artificial silk stockings 
could be got secretly and as a great favour at 90 Rs. a 
pair. A pair of inferior socks cost twenty roubles, and 
a bed quilt fetched seven hundred and fifty. An old 
great coat sold for a thousand roubles, and five times 
that sum was asked for a poor secondhand lady's fur 
cape. 

With the latter half of January, 1919, a slight im- 
provement took place in the food situation. This was 
due to two causes. First, there were to be new Coun- 
cil elections in February, and, although the Bolsheviks 
had other more forcible means of preserving the 
Communist majority, it was still useful for them to buy 
back a little favour among the crowd. With this 
object, slender doles of sugar and flour were made to 
the first and second categories. Secondly, obstinate 
rumours that the British were marching, or soon to 
march, on Petrograd brought down prices, thus prov- 
ing that, despite the famine, there were in the town 
considerable stocks of food which all the perquisitions 
by the Bolsheviks had not been able to discover, and 
their severities had only driven underground. Bread 
fell to 18 Rs. per lb., rye flour to 20, sugar to 75, beef 
to 20, veal to 17, grain and meal to 20-22, potatoes to 
8-10, matches to 1.50 the box. Only such products in 

189 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

which there was no margin stayed at their former 
prices or went higher. Tea rose to 150, coffee to 
160 Rs. per lb. Onions remained at 10 Rs. per lb., 
herrings at 20 Rs. each. The flattering mirage of 
salvation at the hands of a loyal ally, however, soon 
vanished, and the awakening to reality was followed 
by another upward bound of prices, which pro- 
gressively rose until in the middle of March bread 
stood at 35 Rs. per lb., rye flour at 40, sugar 110, 
butter 140-200, according to opportunity; ten eggs 
cost 75 Rs., a sagen of wood 500, one smoked herring 
30; pork 85 Rs. per lb., horse 35, dogmeat 6-10, and 
" mixed meat " 8 Rs. per lb., this last believed to be 
a mixture of dog and cat and human flesh from the 
Chinese abattoir of the Gorohovaya.^ At the stolovki, 
instead of the solid dish, cranberry fool began to be 
given. From March 18 to April 10 all passenger traffic 
was suspended, nominally in order to free more engines 
for the transport of the Red Army. Whatever the 
motive, the situation was no whit relieved, but only 
aggravated, for the " sackmen,'' individual peasant 
speculators, who brought food from the productive 
districts in sacks on their backs to Moscow and Petro- 
grad, were no longer able to travel, and the capitals 
were cut off from the meagre supplies that had thus 
formerly nourished them. Meanwhile hardly a pound 

^ Down to February, 1919, the prices quoted were obtained 
by myself or by persons I can vouch for ; those after I left 
Russia may be believed to be equally accurate, but I cannot 
personally guarantee them. 

190 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



of the hundreds of tons of grain and fiour lying on the 
banks of the Volga had reached the heart and the head 
of Russia. Bread had gone to 45 Rs. per lb., horse to 
50, dog to 10, potatoes to 18, sugar to 200, butter to 
250. But indeed, when prices reach such levels, a few 
roubles per lb. more or less hardly matter, since even 
lower they are, in the most literal sense, killing, and 
when higher, cannot be more deadly. On April 10 it 
was officially announced that cranberries would be 
given instead of bread. The trams now ran only in the 
daytime, and on Sundays not at all. In Moscow they 
have wholly ceased. Electric light, formerly capri- 
cious, is now only given for an hour a day. At the 
beginning of February Petrograd was bad enough. 
Filthy, dilapidated, shuttered, barely lit at night, its 
dejected and morose inhabitants lived feebly from day 
to day in a state of almost complete apathy. In April 
it is described as a town of the dying and of the dead. 
Since March its streets are altogether dark. Disease, 
terror, misery, and famine are its kings, and 
darkness reigns in the hearts of men and clouds their 
minds. Weakness has become so general that hallu- 
cinations begin at a temperature of less than two 
degrees above the normal. 

But if this is the present, the future must be yet 
worse. Russia is living, barely living, on the remains 
of the industry of the past. This year', if the Bol- 
shevik regime is allowed to last, there will be no sowing 
beyond the peasants' immediate needs, if indeed seed 

1 [1919.] 
191 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

corn suffices for that, no wood will be cut or trans- 
ported to the cities, and it seems inevitable that unless 
Petrograd is taken this summer by Kolchak or by the 
sluggard allies of Russia, a large proportion of some 
thirty million human beings in the northern govern- 
ments must perish of cold and hunger. Last summer 
a Petrograd lawyer of credit, who had personal busi- 
ness with Lenin, was asked by him to dinner. He 
found the Bolshevik leader sumptuously served by 
footmen in the former imperial livery. A repast to 
match their magnificence was washed down by choice 
wines. No one could have guessed that there was 
want in Moscow or any restriction upon food. Lenin 
was in a scornful mood. ''What blackguards I am 
surrounded with ! " he cried. "It is positively dis- 
gusting to have to do business with them." It would 
be easy to answer with a tu quoque. But attention is 
here rather drawn to the utter incompetence of the 
Bolshevik Government. Lenin is a clever speaker, 
apt at repartee, and capable of a witty gibe 
even at his own expense ; he and his colleagues are 
primed with endless Socialist catchwords that flow 
from their ready tongues ; they are profoundly versed 
in the organisation of political intrigue, and are wholly 
without scruple; but the legend of their inordinate 
ability is devoid of foundation ; for some people it is 
essential to idealise the central figure of the picture, 
and to such among foreigners Lenin has become a 
genius, albeit a genius from the pit. Nobody in 

192 



HUNGRY PETROGRAD 



Russia except his henchmen thinks him so. Given a 
condition of anarchy, unhmited funds, a slogan of 
rapturously entrancing power to the uneducated, a 
clear view of the immediate object, that personal 
power, and utter ruthlessness in attaining the ultimate 
aim, that is the destruction of patriotism and of the 
educated classes of Russia, and it was not a work of 
peculiar difficulty for men with the training of the 
Bolsheviks to capture the machine of State : once 
captured, to govern with it was a task. indeed to test 
capacity, and in this they have conspicuously failed. 
The hunger of Petrograd and Moscow is the best test 
of all. Why were the cities starved ? In order, in the 
first place, to carry out in practice the Socialist theory 
that all production and distribution should be in the 
hands of the State ; with which purpose twenty-two 
thousand officials were employed in the Petrograd 
supply committee drawing an aggregate salary of over 
twenty million roubles a month. Secondly, and more 
directly, to root out the spirit and the very life of the 
educated classes, who would have combated the 
tyranny of the Bolsheviks and who understood its 
meaning. Germany was the latter's inventor and 
natural friend, and the bread sent thither in Novem- 
ber, 1916, was but one overt act in proof of the Bol- 
sheviks' treason. If a second is required, we may take 
the case where, on the evacuation of Polotsk, the 
Bolsheviks deliberately abandoned seventeen wagons 
of sugar to the Germans, and threatened to shoot an 

193 O 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



officer who tried to get them away. But hunger, with 
which they hoped finally to crush their enemies, has 
become their Frankenstein. The mechanism for pro- 
ducing it, once started, cannot be stayed ; and its 
dread mills have ground out want, not only for foes, 
but for those who once were friends, until famine has 
by the throat both the professional, manufacturing, 
and trading classes, and the workmen to whom the 
millennium was promised, ?nd the pauper class who 
held their reversion from the Bolsheviks, and the very 
Red Army is not safe from starvation. 



194 



CHAPTER VII 

A PRODUCER IN BOLSHEVISIA 

Disguise — a life in hiding — an assumed identity : 
these are the concomitants of everyday hfe as depicted 
in the exciting novels of Mr. Max Pemberton, but, 
outside of them, had not come my way before, and I 
should have expected that they would form a medium, 
in which, did one ever find oneself there, it would be 
hard to behave with any approach to ease and natural- 
ness. But when a good friend met me at the Nicolas 
Station in Moscow and said, " Don't go back to your 
hotel. The Red Guards are looking for you," it 
seemed the simplest thing in the world to sit down on 
a bench in the boulevard and think out a new 
parentage, history, and personality. I was only three 
minutes' walk from the children's home that had been 
my chief care during the past months, but I could not 
go there, because the house porter, a time-server like 
all his breed, would instantly have denounced me, just 
as later he most lyingly denounced the worthy matron 
of the home for concealing agents in a British plot. In 
a twinkling I became someone else, with a whole set of 

195 o 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



new relations, a new country, and a new outlook : the 
only thing I retained was my name, which dropped one 
letter, changed another, and took to itself a fancy 
double. There were too many people who knew me 
by name and sight for me to shed my name altogether, 
but I could change its form and assume a new nation- 
ality. From that hour I was Ivan Pollak-Ulanda, the 
son of the well-known Lettish Communist, Friedrich 
Ulanda, and his wife Fanny Pollak, of Viennese ex- 
traction, who was driven out of Russia in the year 
1874, lived first in Austria, then in France, and finally 
emigrated to America, where he died seventeen years 
later, leaving his orphan son of nineteen — me — to fend 
for himself. With my subsequent history I need not 
trouble the reader : enough to say that it was fully 
worked out with due regard to place and date, and 
fulfilled the purpose for which it was intended. 
Throughout nearly six months that I so lived, I never 
hesitated to rely on my story, and I think that until 
the very end I was hardly suspected ; certainly never 
by the many sailors, Red Army men, commissars, and 
miscellaneous persons into whose company I was 
thrown. According to the passes obtained for me from 
the All-Russian Union of Actors, which was afterwards 
turned, because the word " actor " seemed too aristo- 
cratic, into the " Professional Union of Workers in 
Theatrical Undertakings," I was a producer of ex- 
perience in America, and, since the revolution, at 
which time I was supposed to have returned thither, 

196 



A PRODUCER IN BOLSHEVISIA 

in Russia. These papers were not only valuable as an 
addition to my passport, but gave me the right to 
obtain bread and provisions as a member of the second 
category — that is, a quarter of a pound of bread a day 
and an occasional dole of salt herrings and half-rotten 
potatoes, whereas the third category used to get J lb. 
of bread and practically nothing else. To complete 
my disguise, I grew a fine beard and cultivated a 
Boston accent. 

My first professional job was to look for a theatre at 
Saratov for a company from Moscow, with the idea in 
my head of getting through to the Czecho-SIovaks and 
thence to Vladivostok. In this I failed, because the 
theatres at Saratov had been formed into a close ring 
controlled by the Arts Section of the local Soviet, 
which, under cover of pompous phrases about revolu- 
tionary ideas, was staging average drawing-room 
melodrama and the usual Russian classics that had 
done duty for the past several seasons. A third-rate 
young actor, who by intrigue and coarse activity had 
obtained the post of Commissar of the Theatres, kept 
the best parts for himself and received callers with a 
revolver on the table. He would not hear of " The 
Land of Promise " — '* only of interest to English 
misses," he sneered. "Do you think our workmen 
need to be taught anything by these Canadians ? " I 
privately thought they could be taught a good deal, 
but held my peace. " L'Aiglon " was " imperialistic." 
Hervieu's '' Theroigne de Mericourt " ; " counter-revo- 

197 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

lutionary," Zola's *' Therese Raquin " had " no 
ideals," Ibsen was '' bourgeois." The real point was 
that Comrade Basiligo was determined not to have any 
competition for the multitudinous but very inferior 
strength he had collected round him. Most naturally 
so. He had the finest house in the town for his " sec- 
tion," free quarters, the patronage of six theatres, 
renamed Karl Marx Theatre, Engel's Theatre, Theatre 
of the Revolution, etc., and any amount of money to 
squander. He had killed a genuine working man's 
theatrical club which objected to his tutelage, and was 
not now going to allow anything that might show up 
his mediocrity. Saratov was so crowded in the autumn 
of 1918, by reason of the food situation being some- 
what easier than at Petrograd or Moscow, that, 
although complaint was freely made of the inferior fare 
provided, the theatres were crowded; nevertheless, I 
was informed that Comrade Basiligo managed to 
declare a substantial deficit, which the Soviet paid out 
of the pockets of the " bourgeois." 

My next experience was in Petrograd with a so- 
called "collective." That any actor should be pos- 
sessed of outstanding merit or be a special attraction 
to the public is contrary to the communistic theory 
that no one is better than the worst; consequently 
companies formed round leading actors theoretically 
shared alike in profits and losses. In reality all mem- 
bers of our collective were paid separately by the 
management. Here I worked for some two months with 

198 



A PRODUCER IN BOLSHEVISIA 

one or two weeks of rest, and very hard work it was. 
I was engaged as producer, but since the entire staff 
consisted of the stage manager, electrician, and two 
workmen, it was imperative to do a great deal besides. 
Russian actors, for instance, do not attend to their own 
entrances, but are sent on by the stage-manager ; and 
when the latter fell ill with pneumonia there was no- 
body else to do this but me. This sounds as if the 
theatre was a very miserable one : in fact, it was one 
of the smartest in Petrograd, being situated half-way 
up the Nevsky Prospect, exactly opposite the State 
Theatre. Such conditions were general. Several 
theatres remained altogether closed for want of stage 
hands and through friction with the companies. Ours 
had the advantage of a good medium-sized stage, 
excellent lighting, and an elegant auditorium ; it was 
formerly an extremely popular house, but before we 
came it had fallen on evil days, uninteresting pro- 
grammes and want of stage control having almost quite 
driven the public away. The bill was now changed 
every week, the stage got up with taste, and a certain 
amount of unity and drive instilled into the company, 
with the gratifying result that big audiences soon 
began to flock to the theatre. On Saturdays we regu- 
larly had the " House Full " boards out. The audi- 
ences were mostly composed of " Comrades," that is, 
soldiers, house-porters, workmen, persons serving in 
various conciliar institutions, and a fair sprinkling of 
sailors. Of the old-fashioned theatre-going public 

199 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

there were but few, which is not surprising, since the 
upper and middle classes were exactly those that had 
least money to spend, whereas the Comrades could 
*'blew'' two hundred roubles on refreshments be- 
tween the acts without turning a hair. The first row 
of the stalls cost twenty-four roubles, and there was 
nothing cheaper than ten. Moreover, almost everyone 
more or less rigged himself out in plebeian attire, as 
the best way to avoid unpleasant attention from the 
crowd, so that if educated persons were present they 
were not easy to pick out from the rest. 

The collection was distinctly motley. All actors 
who could had fled from Petrograd, though, in fact, 
the food situation was little better in the provinces, 
and sometimes worse at Moscow, and those of any 
talent who remained and were at liberty asked stagger- 
ing salaries, since on anything less life was barely 
possible. The management, therefore, had recourse to 
makeshifts. Some were fair, but when it turned out 
that the young lead was a comedian under middle 
size and nearly over middle age, steps had to be taken. 
A substitute was found in an amateur who was assist- 
tant commissar in the Petrograd Military Commis- 
sariat, but not, he hastened to assure us, a Bolshevik 
by conviction — only because he would otherwise have 
starved. He had a nice appearance and was willing to 
work hard, which few minor Russian actors are, but he 
had to be taught his part line by line, intonation by in- 
tonation, how to sit, stand, move, in fact, everything 

200 



A PRODUCER IN BOLSHEVISIA 

from the beginning of the alphabet. His worst point 
was an unconscious rolling of his head and a jerk at the 
knee that made me think of a demented gollywog. 
But in the end we mastered even this, and he made 
such improvement that by the second week he had 
ceased to be a nuisance and by the fourth was 
emboldened to strike for a higher salary, which he got 
to the tune of four hundred roubles a week. 

Rehearsing every day and directing the stage at 
night was hard work enough in itself, but when there 
were added to this the imperative tasks of standing in 
the queue for bread in the morning, dashing to get a 
few pounds of vegetables through the favour of an 
acquaintance in some commissariat, or shouldering a 
sack of potatoes through the streets that the superin- 
tendent of a district supply committee had, with enor- 
mous generosity, illicitly sold one, it will be seen that 
life on a meagre and monotonous fare of boiled salt 
herring, all too few potatoes, a morsel of bread, no 
butter, no sugar, no milk, and unlimited weak tea was 
not altogether exhilarating, especially when it is ob- 
served that the theatre was almost stone cold. The 
chief of our collective was indefatigable in getting 
additions to the food supply, insisting that admirers 
should bring bread or rye instead of flowers, and on 
one occasion getting leave to buy a substantial amount 
of fish, chocolate, and caviare — very expensive, it is 
true, but good food, and what a treat ! — from the cen- 
tral supply committee. Most trying were the dress 

201 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

rehearsals, for which work, of course, began earlier and 
ended later than ordinary, and, as it is difficult to get 
the average Russian actor to see the necessity of 
dressing and making-up for the occasion, there was 
always an extra expenditure of nerves and temper. On 
one occasion the young lead was over an hour late, the 
electrician had gone away, the orchestra and the 
carpenter did not come at all, and the stage manager 
was ill ; I had to set and light the stage entirely by 
myself and give the music cues from the stalls. The 
only food to be obtained was tea from the watchman 
at a rouble a glass, or two if you had a lump of sugar, 
and rye cakes the size of a mouthful, fried in castor 
oil, at five roubles apiece. 

Perhaps the most interesting event in the period 
was the so-called '' week of poverty," when representa- 
tives of " committees of poverty " from the country 
came to Petrograd for a congress and were given passes 
to the theatres. There did not look to be much poverty 
about them, for they were huge, hulking fellows, much 
more substantially clad, and above all much better fed, 
than the poor intelligentsia of Petrograd. We were 
playing '' La Dame aux Camelias," which would not 
perhaps be expected to appeal to this class of audience. 
In fact, it packed the theatre and held "the poor" 
enthralled. What fetched them was evidently the 
splendour of Marguerite Gautier's life, the magnifi- 
cence of her gowns, the lace and silken luxury of her 
bed in the last act. Champagne, liqueurs, cards, 

202 



A PRODUCER IN BOLSHEVISIA 



evening dress, the quarrel between Armand and Var- 
ville : all this must have been the top-notch of 
experience to them, more incredible and fabulous than 
Monte Cristo to a boy. They were very silent, but 
attentive. Once a man tried to make a row, demand- 
ing a different sort of entertainment ; but he was 
promptly suppressed by his neighbours. The only 
other sign of disapproval I saw was when a peasant 
who had been sitting quite quietly got up at the 
beginning of Act V and went out, saying that he could 
see his wife in bed three hundred and sixty-five nights 
in the year, and didn't think it interested him to have 
the performance repeated on the stage. Indeed, the 
only objection to " the poor " was the overpowering 
odour they brought into the theatre. It did not finally 
disappear till some days after their week was over. 

Twice during this time I had had what might have 
been narrow shaves of discovery. After the stage 
manager had been ill for a week a substitute was en- 
gaged. He turned out to be a Jewish comedian who 
had recently fulfilled an engagement at the Empire, in 
Leicester Square. He spoke English well and knew 
London, so that I had to conjure up a sublime ignor- 
ance of my native Cockney dom, and to feign ignorance 
successfully is much harder than to pretend to know- 
ledge. Here my American accent served me well, for 
it was strange to the newcomer and enabled me to 
carry off the fiction that I had only been in London 
thrice. A much greater danger was when a well- 

208 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

known Bolshevik commissar, with whom I was ac- 
quainted before the revolution, turned up at the 
theatre one evening. Had he learnt that there was a 
Lettish producer, and that this same producer was I, 
all would have been up, but he assumed that I had 
leave to live openly as an Englishman, and obviously 
never dreamed that I was in hiding from the Red 
Guards. So this passed all right. The third and last 
time that I was in danger was within an ace of being 
fatal. At what precise moment my impresario, who 
was a Pole and a clever, educated man, began to 
suspect me, I do not know, but when he got an inkling 
he bided his time. He learnt that I was intending to 
slip over the border into Finland and discovered the 
means I was about to take. When I gave up my work 
at the theatre after Christmas he kept in touch with 
me, and on the eve of my starting denounced 
me. Afterwards I discovered that he was a profes- 
sional Bolshevik informer. The Bolsheviks keep the 
theatre going and make actors relatively comfortable, 
on the principle of partem et circenses — if they have 
not enough bread to give the people, at least let them 
have more shows ; but within it keep control not only 
through their recognised commissars and delegates, 
but by secret spies, who nose out and hunt down 
possible enemies. 



204 



CHAPTER VIII 
MY LAST JOURNEY 

In the middle of December, 1918, I had occasion to 
go from Petrograd to Saratov. At ordinary times this 
is not an undertaking that would call for any special 
mention. From Petrograd to Moscow would be a 
night's journey of ten hours, and thence the last train 
leaving at 4 p.m. would reach Saratov in nineteen 
hours more. There would be nothing more difficult 
than in a journey from, let us say, Torquay to Inver- 
ness; a good deal slower, to be sure, but much more 
comfortable. 

Under the Bolshevik regime, however, it was an- 
other thing. In the first place, no one has the right 
to travel at all without first obtaining special per- 
mission from the Council of Workmen's, Peasants', and 
Red Army men's deputies of the district, and to get 
such a permission it was necessary to submit cogent rea- 
sons, as for instance, that you were going home to live 
in your native place, or that your wife and family were 
dying, or, better still, that you were bound on business 

205 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

for some Conciliar or Red Army institution. Armed 
with this permission, you must then go to the district 
supply committee, and fill out a form to the effect that 
you were leaving the town and wished to give up your 
bread card, reserving the right to get it back on your 
return ; thence to your co-operative, where the bread 
card would be surrendered in exchange for a certifi- 
cate that you had given it up ; with which finally a 
ticket might be purchased at the station. This whole 
proceeding as far as the station, would, owing to 
delays, mistakes, the difficulty of finding the right 
'* Comrade " to whom to apply, and his mulish ill-will, 
once found, absorb at least three or four days; while 
to get a ticket and, a ticket having been got, to get a 
seat on a train would take an indefinite time, quite 
incalculable beforehand, that might run on, in un- 
favourable circumstances, into weeks. In the second 
place, the time occupied by travelling might under 
Bolshevik management easily be doubled. 

Four days, however, were not mine to waste, to say 
nothing of weeks, for I needed to be back in Petrograd 
by Christmas. By going at once I ought to be able to 
manage this. Say that the journey would take three 
days each way instead of the former thirty-eight hours, 
to allow for breakdowns and delays, three days to do 
my business at Saratov, and I should be back by 
Boxing Day or thereabouts. Therefore, to avoid the 
initial delay, I had recourse to stratagem. To get a 
certificate from my professional union — since to 

206 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



belong to a professional union was almost a necessity 
of life, certainly a necessity for obtaining the smallest 
comfort and security in life — was a measure in any 
case dictated by prudence ; for, even with permission 
and ticket, there was no knowing how many obstruc- 
tions would occur on the road. It would also enable 
me to get my permission from the Council without an 
exasperating amount of trouble. Two professional 
friends signed an application for me, stating that I 
was bound on professional business, and this being 
slightly changed by an amiable official in the type- 
writing, blossomed out into an authority to travel on 
behalf of the Union itself, and a request signed by 
the chairman to all '' Governmental and social insti- 
tutions to afford assistance to " the bearer. The next 
step was the permission to leave the town. Here a 
block took place, for on going to the District Council 
I discovered it to be in a condition of flux, in other 
words, removing from one building to another. 
This is a common habit of such august bodies, which 
sometimes change their place of abode so often that it 
takes a day or two even to find them. Their reasons 
are obscure, but probably connected with a certain 
diminution in the furniture that is observed little by 
little to take place ; when the number of tables, chairs, 
and cupboards has been reduced to the lowest limit of 
decency by depredations on the part of the staff, who 
think they would better grace their own flats, the 
institution finds cause to move to another habitation, 

207 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



where the same game begins anew. Besides, during 
the move there is ample opportunity for such minor 
objects as typewriters and a few reams of paper to 
vanish without trace. To me the present move was 
annoying, because no business would be done for at 
least two days. Fortunately, however, among my 
papers I discovered an old pass from Moscow to Petro- 
grad and back, by judiciously altering the date of 
which I was able, without waiting for a fresh permit, to 
apply at once for a ticket. It only remained to get the 
latter for me to be off. 

Easier said than done, however, to get a railway 
ticket in Russia in December, 1918. The stations 
were thronged. The oflBces of the " Commission for 
Evacuating " Petrograd were besieged by crowds that 
spent day and night in front of them. People waited 
for weeks for an opportunity to get tickets. Commis- 
sionaires with means of obtaining them by the back 
door charged five or six hundred roubles for a seat to 
Moscow. In these circumstances I did what experi- 
ence had often shown to be the most effective course : 
I asked a Jewish acquaintance to get my ticket for me. 
How this remarkable race manages, no one knows, 
but it is a fact that Jews are always able to get 
railway tickets, and never have to stand in food 
queues. And, sure enough, on the morrow I had a 
ticket to Saratov and a reserved seat to Moscow, 
without having to pay more than a few roubles above 
the proper rate. For food I took ten prilled herrings, 

208 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



two tins of sprats, relics of a better time, a pound of 
bread bought at the price of twenty-two roubles, and 
a few small rye scones. It was likely that what I 
could take would have to last me to my journey's end. 

Until Moscow nothing of note occurred. Starting at 
7 p.m., we arrived the next day at half-past two, and, 
all things considered, nineteen and a-half hours for 
four hundred miles was not to be grumbled at. Two- 
thirds of the way to Moscow our locomotive, which 
was a goods engine, gave out, and was replaced by one 
detached from a train coming in the opposite direction 
on the demand of some conciliar bigwig on our train, 
according to the practice of the Naval commissar, the 
sailor Dybenko, the husband of Kalontin, when his 
train broke down. But for some potent presence we 
should have been left in the position of the unfortu- 
nates going to Petrograd — stranded, probably, until 
the next day. As it was, we triumphantly completed 
our journey and pulled into the Nicolas Station at 
Moscow on an exquisite afternoon, with the glass 
about zero. 

My idea had been to call at the Sleeping Car Co.'s 
office in crossing the city to the station for Saratov, 
and to beg for some sort of a paper to the conductor 
of the sleeping car on the four o'clock, this being, with 
its pendant in the opposite direction, the last train in 
Russia, outside one each way on the Petrograd-Moscow 
line, to boast of such a luxury. An hour and a-half, 
however, was all the time left, so I decided not to 

209 p 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

risk it, but to arrange matters with the conductor in 
person. The brisk frost and bright sun made the drive 
dehghtf ul ; and all for a mere eighty roubles — I began 
to feel that the gods were with me. As, however, is 
usually the case when one allows himself the luxury of 
this feeling in Russia, I was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. On arriving at the Saratovsky Station I found 
a crowd besieging the doors, which were shut. No 
one was even admitted without a ticket, and even those 
with tickets had considerable difficulty. Having cir- 
cumvented this obstacle by an illicit entrance through 
the third-class exit, an elderly porter of irritable 
temper told me that the train had been altered to 
4.30, and that the sleeping car had been taken off. The 
last one had run two days before. The porter wanted 
to know what I would do. Had I a ticket ? I said 
No, but I had a pass from the Council. Quite 
useless, unless I got it exchanged for a seat by the 
stationmaster, he rejoined, and then I should probably 
not go on that day ; scores of people had been waiting 
for three or four days. The stationmaster, on search 
being made, was not to be found. His office was open, 
but empty and deserted as well by his assistant and 
the clerks who commonly are to be found there. A 
glance at the booking office showed the futility of 
applying there ; about three hundred people were 
waiting already, and as it would only open half an 
hour before the time of the train, not more than fifty 
would probably get served. The entrance to the 

210 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



platform was scarcely less crowded, but, to the 
bewilderment of the porter, who thought me mad, I 
sent him through the barrier by his own gate and got 
as close as I could to the passengers' wicket, which 
was guarded by two sailors, their belts jangling with 
bombs, an armed railway guard, and two ticket 
collectors. After a half-hour's wait, enlivened by the 
usual squabbles among the Comrades, the train slowly 
backed into the station. It was an exclusively 
'' platzkartug " train, that is, all the seats were num- 
bered and had been distributed to passengers armed 
with proper authorities from their Councils, and, of 
course, with tickets. On the appearance of the train 
we, the crowd, began to heave and plunge, each one 
fearing — and with justice — that somebody else would 
get his allotted seat. Individuals, perhaps like myself 
without tickets, began to make rushes at the gate, 
only to be thrust back by the guards with much ob- 
jurgation. Soon the latter lost patience, and began to 
threaten with their rifles, and, this proving of no avail, 
one incontinently fired into the air. The crowd, 
though accustomed enough to such ebullitions, gave 
back automatically ; on which I, advancing, waved my 
entirely invalid papers in the ticket collector's face 
and passed through at the exact moment when his 
attention was concentrated on repelling the next 
charge of the crowd. Once on the platform the rest 
was easy. I sought out the head guard, known in 
Russia as " the chief of the train," and explained that 

211 P 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



I was on urgent Conciliar business, that I had not had 
time to get a seat ticket but had a pass, and asked if I 
could take a spare seat, supposing there was one. " By 
all means," was the answer, and until this was seen I 
could stand in the passage. This was all I hoped, and 
now, having authority on my side, I propped myself 
as comfortably as I could in a corner and waited for 
the train to move out, as it did in a few minutes more. 
In the corridor besides myself were five others, the 
overflow after all the seats had been filled, eight 
passengers going to a compartment intended by the 
coach-builders for four. It appeared, however, that 
they had seat tickets, but that their seats were in a 
compartment commandeered by the engine driver's 
substitute, should a substitute be wanted on the 
journey, and his mate, who had put up a notice that 
the compartment was for their sole use and locked the 
door. This the legitimate seat-holders resented, and, 
dozing the while, I was aware of a prolonged argument 
between their spokesman, the chief of the train, and 
the engineers in possession. After disputing the point 
for about an hour, the latter suddenly caved in and 
vanished, grumbling, with their traps, to the decent 
triumph of the victors. They only being five, a clear 
right existed for a sixth passenger to take a seat, and 
the party promptly acceded to my request for leave to 
be that sixth. Among my fellow travellers, I dis- 
covered, was a teacher in the Military-Medical Aca- 
demy, who had held an appointment at Tver and was 

212 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



now being moved to Astrakhan. Travelling with him 
were his wife, two daughters, and a girl friend, a young 
woman of four- or five-and-twenty, who was employed 
in a supply committee in Moscow. She had taken the 
opportunity of her friends going to Astrakhan to obtain 
a fortnight's leave, nominally on account of health, 
and to pay a flying visit to her parents, who lived 
there. Our conversation during the evening was con- 
fined to the usual politenesses, since in the land of the 
Bolsheviks one must be careful with strangers, and the 
others were, moreover, well occupied in discussing a 
supper such as I had not seen for many months. They 
had friends, I gathered, in the country near Tver, and 
were provided with apparently inexhaustible supplies 
of bread, eggs, chicken, cold buck-wheat porridge, 
cutlets, rye cakes, honey, tea, and coffee, and talked, 
as was inevitable, of food without stopping. Like every 
experienced Russian traveller, I had tea, with which I 
washed down two herrings and a small piece of bread 
flavoured with mustard. Save for a plate of water- 
soup at Moscow, I had had nothing since a precisely 
similar meal in the morning. 

Our night passed in comparative luxury. True, 
the carriage was filthy, the material had long since 
been ripped from the seats, there were no cushions, 
and, of course, no lighting; but we were only six, 
and could stretch ourselves, one above and two 
below, each side of the compartment. Several 
attempts to enter it at wayside stations were coun- 

213 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

tered by the opposition of the army lecturer, who, 
sliding the door an inch, insisted that the carriage 
was full, and then shut it before his statement could 
be verified. As we proceeded the weather got worse 
and the train slower. Snow had begun to fall soon 
after we left Moscow, and the air was now filled with 
powdery, dry flakes. This is the worst kind of snow 
for a train to make its way through. Heavy, wet 
flakes afford opposition that is surmountable, but 
when the snow is dry it begins to drift and clog the 
wheels. The wind was getting up, and the train 
ploughed its way along with bumps and jerks. When 
day broke, the wind had increased and was blowing 
a gale from the south, with a temperature of five 
degrees above zero Fahrenheit. Boiling water at 
wayside stations was not plentiful and food non- 
existent, but at one o'clock I got a handful of pieces 
of dried bread from a returned prisoner of war to 
add to my slender store. He had with him a large 
bag of it, the bread, moreover, being of excellent 
quality, which did not look much as if there was 
starvation in Germany, whence it had come. So we 
went all day. I had brought with me '* La Vie de 
Mile. Clairon," by Edmond de Goncourt, in which 
there is, luckily, a great deal of reading, for it was 
to be my sole intellectual entertainment for several 
days. At seven o'clock we reached Kozlov, the 
junction between the Saratov, Samara, and Voronesh 
lines. Kozlov is, in all my experience of travelling 

214 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



in Russia, the most infuriating place. There are 
always long delays there, always a great crowd going 
in all directions, and the station is mean and was 
always badly supplied. We now arrived fifteen hours 
late, and stuck there. And now another piece of 
luck came my way. I had finished my herrings and 
bread, and was faced by a cheerless prospect indeed, 
when getting out to prowl about I ran into a young 
peasant with a large loaf of black bread, weighmg 
perhaps eighteen pounds. Everywhere travellers and 
townsmen were hunting for what you only realise to 
be indeed the staff of life when you have not got it, 
and everywhere in vain. The few people who had 
bread were keeping it for themselves; so it seemed 
still more providential that my peasant was willing 
to sell. With the loaf hidden under his sheepskin 
coat, he beckoned me into the dark outside the 
station, where there was less chance of detection by 
Red Guards ; secretly, under the falling snow, we 
struck the bargain, and for the sum of eighty roubles, 
nominally worth £8 and formerly the tenth part of 
a first-class civil servant's monthly salary, I obtained 
the prize. I struggled back through a seething mass 
of humanity to the train. The corridor was packed 
with newcomers camping on their luggage, and there 
was a general air of damp and discomfort. At night 
the carriage became horribly stuffy, and bugs, prob- 
ably imported by the fresh arrivals, were active. We 
covered the window with overcoats, so as to prevent 

215 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

the crowd from seeing our relatively few numbers, 
which had they realised they would have probably 
broken the glass and invaded us, movement along 
the corridor being almost impossible. At 1.30 a.m. 
the train with an immense effort plunged out of the 
station. Joy and relief were, however, doomed to 
disappointment; for after a long stop just outside 
Kozlov, we came back into the station on another 
line. 

The next day was Sunday. Snow was still falling, 
but there was no wind, and rumour, the only source 
of information, had it that we should go on at four 
o'clock. But when four came and five and six 
o'clock, and there was no change except the arrival 
of two other trains from the direction of Moscow, 
my companions and I began to fear further delay. 
The wind was rising again, and the dreaded word 
nietel was on all lips. The tourmente de neige 
vietel, blizzard, call it what you will, is the terrible 
Russian snowstorm that, swirling round and round, 
blots everything from view, creeps, mounts, pours 
over everything till everything is buried, renders 
direction impossible to find, and in the days of car- 
riage travelling counted many victims who were 
caught in its grip. It is a pall of white, a monstrous, 
moving infinite screen of hard white particles, a 
crushing weight of white, a wilderness of white, a 
weariness of white, a terror of white, a white death. 
Pushkin and Tolstoy have described it and Colonel 

216 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



Burnaby lived through it. Now we were at the 
wretched station of Kozlov and the vietel had caught 
us. The district north of Tambov, which lay ahead, 
has a bad reputation in this respect, and the end of 
December is a bad time. Outside the snow fell in- 
cessantly, or seemed rather to blow from every 
quarter of the heavens, going round and round as 
if indeed it had been brushed by some giant besom, 
which is what met SI implies. On the platform it 
was some eight inches deep and in the sidings was 
forming into deep banks. It was hoped, however, 
that we should get away on the morrow, but my com- 
panions, who had only reckoned on a three days' 
journey and had recklessly consumed their supplies, 
were getting nervous about food. For the moment, 
however, they had enough to go round. I munched 
my bread with a touch of mustard, as economically 
as I could, and opened one of my two tins of sprats. 
Boiling water for tea was obtainable in abundance 
close to our train from a boiler in a hut of its own 
specially arranged to this end, and we all had a 
sufficiency of tea. 

During the day our carriage, till now agreeably 
empty, had become filled up with the overflow from 
the passage, where a Jewish family from Rogachev, 
in the government of Mogilev, had strewed them- 
selves and their effects just opposite us. It is notice- 
able that under Bolshevik conditions, hardly anyone 
but Jews and Red Army people travel. Like our- 

217 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

selves, this party were going to Saratov. First the 
mother joined us, then her son, a youth of nineteen 
or twenty, and later one or other of the several 
cousins who made up their party. They were restless 
companions and kicked a great deal in their sleep, 
but the bugs had fortunately moved on to pastures 
new. I had by this time had ample opportunity to 
become acquainted with my fellow-travellers. No 
one in Russia, especially on a railway journey, has 
any side about them, and when we had overcome our 
initial suspicion of each other, we soon got on good 
terms. The army lecturer was a quiet, common- 
sensible man who had travelled in many parts of 
Russia, and had served in the railway administration 
before he took to his present profession. He was, 
it need hardly be said, strongly opposed to the 
Bolsheviks, but had to be careful how he said so, 
especially as the next coupe to ours was crowded 
with Red Army men. The main subject of conversa- 
tion was, when should we get on ? But, once off 
this, talk ranged, as is usual in Russia, over all things 
in heaven and earth. Where had I come from ? 
What was I doing ? Oh, I was a Lett ! Then was I 
a Bolshevik ? No ? I had only come back to Russia 
after the Revolution ! I had lived in America ! How 
was it that the Americans, who loved liberty, could 
support the Bolshevik tyranny ? My only answer 
was that they did not understand. Then ensued 
animated discussions on art and the theatre, always 

218 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



broken by excursions for hot water and hopes of the 
train's departure. 

But next morning brought no movement — only 
thicker snow, though with less wind. The carriage 
was getting disgustingly damp and dirty and the food 
problem weighed on everyone's spirits. However, 
our position was better than that of passengers in 
some of the other trains, which still continued to 
arrive from the north, yet others being stranded 
ahead of us. From one of these the passengers had 
come back in the evening, we now heard, trudging 
fifteen versts through the storm, with the report that 
they had left sixty people in the train, many of them 
women and children, without fire or water. Our 
train at least was warmed, and we could get boiling 
water. The Reds next door had gone out to hunt 
for food, and presently came back in triumph, having 
obtained 26 lb. of bread, 20 lb. of meat, 36 lumps 
of sugar, cabbages and lentils for six men. Fired 
by their example — since I had breakfasted on bread 
and a little pork fat given me by the Jews — I set 
forth about noon with two of the latter and a young 
lady going to Astrakhan in search of dinner, which 
it was said could be obtained at the " Conciliar 
dining-room " of Kozlov. There, as everywhere else 
in Sovdepia, all hotels and eating-places had long 
ago been shut up. After twenty minutes' buffeting 
through the snow, still falling fast, we reached the 
place and found it packed with Comrades in various 

219 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

stages of dirt and roughness, with a few decent people 
among them. Dinner, at 3 Rs. 50 kop., consisted 
of a plate of thin horse bouillon with a lump of the 
meat thrown into it by the cook's fingers, a small 
plate of porridge, and a little bread. The soup was 
one of the horridest things I remember to have eaten, 
and the dirt of the place such that our company with 
one accord determined, come what might, we would 
never go there again. Interesting as it was to study 
the habits of the natives of Kozlov, our repast was 
evidently not going to satisfy anyone for many hours. 
We therefore determined to scatter and scour the 
town for food. The two Jews went together and the 
Miss Astrakhan with me, and for two hours we 
plunged through deep snow round the outskirts of 
the town, asking every peasant who was to be found 
where we could buy bread. The invariable answer 
was that there was none in the town, but that some 
might perhaps be found at the village of Donskoe 
Selo, two versts away on the banks of the river Don. 
What is two versts ? A mere stroll of a mile and a 
half. But when that mile and a half is snowed under 
to a depth of two or three feet and a fifteen mile an 
hour breeze is wafted across its frozen surface, the 
scene is changed- We sadly turned back, our boots 
full of snow, hungry and tired, knocking at every 
peasant house in the faint hope of finding something. 
At one I found seven peasants making a dinner that 
consisted exclusively of boiled potatoes; they most 

220 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



generously passed me one with their fingers — and 
when I say " they,'' I mean that the white, floury 
ball, whose like I had not seen for several days, was 
passed from hand to hand until it reached me, and 
most delicious it was. Hope had been abandoned of 
getting any substantial addition to the larder, when 
we ran into a boy with a bag. It is astonishing how 
appetising a bag may look if you are very hungry. 
Of course, there may not be food in it; but then, 
again, there may be. This time, as if by magic, there 
was food in the bag, and that food was bread, about 
twenty pounds, of which, with a truly Samaritan 
spirit, the youth sold us six. And then, oh wonder ! 
A little woman who had been drawing water from 
the pump hard by, actually asked if we wanted food, 
and being answered, bade us follow to her house a 
few minutes distant. Her husband, it turned out, 
was a railway servant — an admirable class in Russia 
— and she had immediately spotted us as wayfarers 
stranded in the storm. Their home was clean and 
looked almost incredibly comfortable after the grow- 
ing filth of the train, but although they pressed Miss 
Astrakhan to come back for the night and bring her 
girl friend with her, it was impossible to accept, since 
no one knew what time the train might go ! But, 
filth or no filth, we had got food, three pounds more 
bread from our new friends, making nine in all, and 
three fat herrings, with which we went back in 
triumph. On comparing notes with the two others, 

221 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

v/e found that tliey had not only discovered and 
bought nearly twenty pounds more bread, but had 
unearthed a Jewish cobbler's where they had had 
dinner of soup, goose, bread, jam, and tea, all for 
twenty-five roubles. The herrings, however, shed a 
glory that could not be dimmed, and though I 
abominate raw herrings myself, they were quickly 
devoured by the company, to their great delectation. 
On the evening of this, the fourth day, the snow 
stopped and the wind fell; and at eight o'clock a 
smart train came into the station from the south. 
At first reported to be Trotsky's train, it soon turned 
out that a less exalted but nevertheless an important 
personage was on board it, in the shape of the mili- 
tary commissar of the Southern front, Vladimirov, 
whom we could see in his car making a hearty meal 
by the light of numerous candles, while we sat 
supperless by the light of our single dip. Worse stil!, 
the hopes raised by the appearance of the train that 
traffic had been resumed were quickly dashed by the 
news that Vladimirov's train on its southward 
journey had been snowed up half-way between 
Kozlov and Tambov and had now returned to the 
former haven after being extricated only with great 
difficulty. Night set in with a shade of extra depres- 
sion, that was not relieved by one of the young Jews 
who had been foraging having contracted a feverish 
chill. But what was this to the state of our spirits 
on awaking to the news that the station was on fire ! 

222 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



Heavy clouds of steam began to mingle with the 
snow, deepening at intervals to a pall of smoke 
through rents in which the yellow heart of the fire 
was occasionally visible. We were drawn up at No. 1 
platform, and for a time in some danger from the 
flames, which, having started in the fourth-class 
waiting-room, were spreading through the third to 
the first just opposite us. At about 9 a.m., however, 
Vladimirov's train was hauled out to a siding, and 
ours followed. Here we remained all day with 
scarcely anything to eat but bread and my mustard, 
and, worst of all, only cold tea from the day before 
to drink, the big boiler at the station being left un- 
tended in the general confusion till evening, when a 
fresh brew was achieved. Nor was the boiler only 
allowed to get cold, but our train also, with the 
result that by early morning we were all shivering 
instead of being, according to the usual practice, par- 
boiled. For the habit on our train was to stoke the 
stoves at night till they could hold no more and not 
to touch them during the day, with the result that, 
while by day everything grew cool and to a certain 
extent dried up, at night the walls and roof dripped 
moisture, and large pools of damp filth formed on 
the floor. 

It was to this picture that I woke on Christmas 
Day, and breakfasted on bread and cold water. The 
night had been poor and disturbed by the Hebrew 
mother imitating the demon of whom Dante writes : 

223 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Ed egli avea cul fatto tronihetta. The whole of this 
family was very restless, and relieved themselves by 
spitting and blowing their noses on to the floor. One 
spark of comfort, however, and indeed much more 
than comfort, for it was actual salvation, was ours; 
on the representations of certain railwaymen travel- 
ling on the train, it was begun again to be heated. 
All round us other trains were drawn up, almost 
heaped up, in the yard, many carriages with broken 
windows, blocked up insufficiently with sacking or 
paper. The suffering in these must have been in- 
tense. A railway servant informed me that there had 
been eighteen serious cases of frost-bite among the 
passengers on Christmas Eve, and six the day before 
that. If this was at the station, what happened to 
the trains caught further down the line ? That no 
one ever knew, but it was reported that one train, 
chiefly filled with Russian prisoners of war returning 
from Germany, was wholly snowed under, and every 
soul in it lost. The storm had now stopped, but the 
general situation remained dispiriting and obscure. 
Decrees were affixed all over the station and town, 
commanding all the civil population under pains and 
penalties to fall to and clear the line from snow, but 
so far these seemed to have had little effect. It was 
at least obvious that we should not move till evening. 
So at ten o'clock Nicolai Fedorovich, three of the 
Jews, and I sallied forth to hunt for food. The day 
was brilliant and the invigorating air made our long 

224 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



search agreeable, but after fruitless application to 
three institutions for leave to buy something for the 
women in the train our spirits again dropped. We 
had stumped the snow for two hours and so far got 
nothing. Relief, however, often comes at the un- 
expected moment, and on our homeward path the 
inventive young Israelite bethought him of visiting 
his friend the cobbler. He left the rest of us on the 
pavement to admire the local Comrades tittuping up 
and down the main street on horseback while respect- 
able middle-aged citizens were made to clean the 
streets, and dived into a maze of small courts and 
alleys, from which he emerged ten minutes later to 
beckon us after him. Our pace had sunk to about 
a mile an hour, and after a touch of fever following 
my expedition in the snow I was so weak that I had 
to lean against a wall for fear of fainting. Our guide 
took us in a devious way, ending with a succession of 
dark cellars from which we passed into a well-lit 
underground cobbler's workshop. No Aladdin 
descending into the earth could have found gems of 
more marvellous worth than the meal we found set 
before us — cabbage soup, beef, and potatoes cooked 
in oil, wheatmeal porridge, unlimited bread and tea 
with a sweet instead of sugar. I had not seen such a 
meal for months. Our host, who charged a very 
moderate 20 Rs. a head, wanted to emigrate to 
Kansas City, where he had a sister; he had lived in 
Riga before the war and bitterly regretted that he 

225 Q 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



had not emigrated then. In my character of a Let- 
tish political refugee who had been educated abroad, 
I sang the praises of America. Success brings suc- 
cess, and good luck its fellow. On the way back to 
the train I went round to the friendly railwayman 
and was rewarded with five lb. of bread, three of 
potatoes, and three herrings, which, with the pots 
of meat and porridge we had taken for the women, 
would make a serious supply for the morrow. The 
excellent young fellow was sitting at home with a 
bandage over his eyes, having been touched by 
smoke in helping to put out the fire. It had been 
caused, he said, by an incendiary in order to burn 
a mass of compromising documents concerning the 
activity of the " supply detachment " of Kozlov, 
nominally there to accelerate food transport, the 
brigandage of which had been notorious throughout 
the summer. As for the Bolsheviks, he had no words 
too bad for them. He and a friend had bought two 
hundred lb. of pork, intending it to last them through 
the winter. They had paid the peasants 1,500 Rs. 
for it, but the local '^ Committee of Poverty " had 
found and requisitioned it, and paid for only a 
hundred and twenty lb. at less than 3 Rs. per lb., so 
that he and his friend lost their food, their trouble, 
and 750 Rs. into the bargain. When would there be 
a change ? he wanted to know. Everyone was 
longing to get rid of the tyrants, but who could do 
anything? It was the English who must come and 

226 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



save Russia. Formerly people were keen to go to 
meetings; now no one went. Who wanted to hear 
speeches when they were only thinking of food and 
there was none ? It is indeed a testimony to the 
character of the Bolshevik rule that there should be 
hunger at Kozlov, which is the centre of the meat- 
producing district of Russia. Returning to the 
station, I found our train had moved again and was 
now only a few yards from the boiler for water, a 
great convenience. A crowd was collected round the 
boiler-house, laughing and shouting at a large hen 
pheasant which had perched on top of it, and was 
solemnly sitting there in above four inches of snow, 
doubtless for the warmth that percolated upwards. 
Presently a boy climbed up to dislodge her, and she 
whirred off with an immense clatter and chuckling 
towards the trees. 

Thus another night passed and led to breakfast, 
consisting of two potatoes from yesterday and a few 
slices of dried apples given me by the Jews, who 
seemed to have everything, but in small and remote 
parcels. Our carriage was by now filthy with damp 
crumbs, scraps of food, and all the refuse of human 
life in crowded and unhealthy circumstances. By 
dispensation of Providence the mirror and tap in the 
lavatory had escaped the general fate of the train 
fittings, so that washing on an exiguous scale was 
possible, despite the accumulated filthy swamp in 
the lavatory compartment. It was Boxing Day, and 

227 Q 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

as a gift from the gods we were led to expect that 
the train would at last move, when a further visita- 
tion befell us. Exactly at three o'clock, when every- 
one was panting with excitement and expectation, 
there appeared two Reds with fixed bayonets, and, 
despite all protests, they cleared out our carriage for 
the benefit of four Red officers, turning all its occu- 
pants and our baggage pell-mell into the corridor. 
The eldest of the four, when they appeared, was not 
more than twenty-two, and on the faces of all of 
them was stamped the mark of the beast. As the 
women delayed in tears over their traps, the Red 
heroes almost flung them out of the door. This, 
despite a recent decree of the Central Council that 
no military officers should meddle with the railway 
administration. However, there was nothing to be 
done. The army lecturer, himself travelling on 
urgent Conciliar business, went in high anger to 
complain to the Commandant of the station, who 
replied that it was merely a case of armed bullying, 
but said that, if he attempted to interfere, the only 
result would be that he would be shot. The four 
heroes than went off to supper and the cinema, 
having had the door of the carriage locked so that 
no one could profit by it during their absence. It 
was noticeable, moreover, that they were the only 
people who, in squeezing along the corridor, never 
asked a '* By your leave." 

At three o'clock we stood with two engines ready 

228 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



to pull out. An hour later it was reported that a 
snow-plough, sent ahead to clear the road, had 
broken down, and that the train would not leave at 
earliest until next day. The weather was getting 
warm, and under the roof of the station platform 
there were not more than 13° F. of frost ; but up to 
now no train had succeeded in going either way- At 
eight o'clock Vladimirov's train set out for Moscow, 
and at midnight a message came that this was stuck. 
We were, in fact, in a complete fix, unable to move 
in any direction or to do anything but wait and hope 
that the best would not turn out to be the worst. 

The corridor, already crowded with humans and 
luggage, was reduced by our exodus into it — nine 
more people and all their luggage — ^to a state of 
impossible block, in which we were dozing as best 
we could, propped up against one another, when at 
5.20 a.m. the train pulled out without warning and 
proceeded slowly but steadily through a snowy 
waste. We were going now northwards, intending to 
follow the loop line via Riagsk and Penza, thus 
avoiding Tambov, where the greatest block of snow 
was reported. When, however, one speaks of a block 
of snow, it is to be understood that, although the 
storm had been of great violence, it would not in the 
old days have meant more than a delay of perhaps 
twenty-four hours, and in Scotland or America the 
line would have been cleared in perhaps a quarter of 
the time by the use of a rotary snow-plough. But 

229 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

at Kozlov, one of the principal railway junctions in 
Sovdepia, at a time when it was urgent beyond 
everything else for the Bolsheviks to keep open their 
communications between Moscow and the front, 
there was no rotary snow-plough, nor even the 
ordinary article in decent repair — only one old broken 
plough and hand labour. The bourgeois were sent 
out by their hundreds to clear the line, and dire 
pains and penalties proclaimed against peasants who 
refused to do their share; nevertheless, the block 
kept possession of the railway for a whole week. 

From now onwards the journey became more or 
less normal. That is to say, we took three days and 
two nights to accomplish a journey which should have 
been done perhaps in eighteen hours, pigging it — ^I 
hope I may be excused the word, but indeed nothing 
else will describe the situation — in the corridor, get- 
ting parsimonious supplies of boiling water for tea at 
stations, alive with throngs of sackmen who were 
struggling to go in various directions and appeared 
.likely to struggle for several days more. 

This last part of the journey was, however, enlivened 
by the incursus of an entirely new set of people, who 
afforded distraction from what had come to be the 
almost exclusive occupation of the party — watching 
our Hebrew acquaintances search one another's heads 
for lice. The best of the newcomers was a sailor who 
had served on the Archangel front. Learning that I 
had been in America, he entered into conversation. 

280 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



He was very anxious to discover from my experience 
of Americans why the combined EngUsh and American 
forces had not advanced on that front in the summer. 
They could, he said, have made a push forward and 
taken Kotlas without the shghtest difficulty ; the Reds 
were very weak, and he was amazed at their having 
held the line. In his sector there were only 300 sailors, 
and they had to keep moving about as much as possible 
so as to make the British and the Americans think 
they were in greater force. He had an immense respect 
for the Americans' equipment, especially their fur coats, 
and for the English jam, of which the Reds had cap- 
tured a considerable quantity, but none whatever for 
them as fighters. His contempt for their fightmg 
qualities was only mitigated by the fact that, following 
the example of the Reds, they gave no quarter to 
prisoners. He himself was an Anarchist and hated the 
Bolsheviks, who, he predicted, would not last beyond 
the spring. The Fleet in general, he said, was anti- 
Bolshevik, and on his own ship only one-third of the 
crew were Communists, but his muddled intelligence 
was quite unable to perceive that the only way of 
making his hatred of the Bolsheviks effective would 
be if he and his mates refused to serve them any longer. 
Now he was on his way to Saratov to rescue his things 
and his mother's cottage from threatened requisition, 
and was prepared, if necessary, to shoot the whole 
Council at Saratov, when, if he was arrested, a detach- 
ment of his mates would automatically, on the non- 
231 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

receipt of a telegram from him on a certain day, 
descend in force and rescue him. Such are the simple 
methods by which we remedy injustice in Russia. 

On the second day of our journey with him an ani- 
mated conversation took place in our carriage. The 
sailor was narrating how at Fort Ino 463 hostages were 
shot in reply to the murder of Uritsky and dug their 
own graves in the morning, and how in Petrograd over 
1,000 suffered the same fate. This was just, he said, 
on account of excesses wrought by the Junkers and 
Cossacks. The army lecturer interposed with a refer- 
ence to Tashkent, where countless cruelties had been 
committed by the Reds. He was answered by a 
soldier who said : " Well, and what about what they 
did in Ukraine ? There, 30,000 workmen were shot, 
and batches of 60 were hanged in the streets of Kiev. 
We ought to hang all the intelligentsia for that — kill 
them all." Sailor; "Oh, well, Libau, Riga, and 
Reval will soon be taken in the spring — Libau, oh, yes, 
before that, that will be very soon, only we must have 
the army to back up the fleet. And then Warsaw will 
be in our hands again. And Finland. And then we'll 
clear all the English out of the north. That's part of 
the programme, too." Army Lecturer: "And what 
about the English Fleet in the Caspian Sea ? " Sailor : 
" Oh, we are not afraid of them ; we have got a fine fleet 
of T.B.D.'s. They have been brought down the Volga ; 
they will do for the British, I can tell you." 

The lecturer's wife chimed into the conversation, 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



protesting against the sailor's bloodthirstiness. He 
only laughed at her, but she was staunch to her point 
of view. The following conversation ensued : — Lec- 
turer's Wife : " But do you justify the shooting of 
Professor Rudy of Moscow, who had founded a dental 
hospital out of his own means, and was taken out of 
his house and shot for nothing whatever ? " 

Sailor : " Ah ! An old man ! What is the use of old 
men ? He probably had a different point of view on 
politics from ourselves. We must root out all the old 
structure of life, destroy them all." 

Lecturer : '* But if you shoot all the older men, who 
can teach us? Who will educate the younger 
generation.'' " 

Sailor : *' They will educate themselves. I'll teach 
them." 

Lecturer : '* How old are you } " 

Sailor: ** Twenty-two." 

Lecturer : " A lot you can teach." 

Sailor (contemptuously) : " Ah ! Don't you be 
afraid, life will teach us alL The revolution will 
produce a totally different society." 

It must not be supposed that the talk about the 
revolution producing a new society is genuine. It is 
simply learned from pamphlets and sketchy Socialist 
handbooks. Nevertheless, there was a certain fresh- 
ness and leaning towards independence m my sailor 
that made him worth encouraging to talk. He had a 
little book containing the life of Walt Whitman in 

283 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

pamphlet form, and was excited to know that I had 
read the poems in the original, and could tell him 
which were the best. All the last day that we were 
together in the train furious discussions raged between 
him and my travelling companions on the subjects of 
Socialism, Communism, religion, the parasitism 
of the educated, etc. His mind was like a marsh with- 
out any bottom or solidity whereon even a foundation 
could be laid, but he was young and jolly, which was 
far better than the self-important and pretentious 
Bolshevist — an appalling type. 

*' And India," said the sailor, " that is where the 
revolution will go. There's a great revolutionary 
people for you." The main object of the Communist 
party, he said, was to abolish money, so that all doing 
physical work should receive actual goods in exchange 
for it. No other work should be paid, but only manual 
labour as being the most valuable of all. '* How 
many hours of a peasant's toil go to make bread ? " he 
said. " No money can recompense him for that. He 
must have goods, and no one must have mere than 
he." There was, at all events, more generosity and 
liveliness in this than in the views of a small Jewish 
Red officer, who had an interminable discussion with 
an anaemic teacher, formerly a priest, who veiled an 
essentially narrow understanding under cheap irony. 
The little Jew's argument was that if your opponent 
was willing to admit that you might be right in prin- 
ciple, then you could agree with him, but if you saw 

284 



MY LAST JOURNEY 



it was impossible to convince him you could 
only shoot him : with regret, but still decidedly 
shoot him. 

It was during the last night that the Jews, both 
civilians and officers, had a poor time. A man in a 
black fur coat and fur cap had got into our coach and 
was hobnobbing with a number of Red Army men. He 
must have been of the peasant class, since he com- 
manded their respect and talked with extreme free- 
dom. His language was forcible ; his theme simple — 
that the whole Bolshevik Revolution was made by 
the Jews in order to abolish Christianity. All the 
representative Russians, he said, were arrested or 
killed — and he instanced a whole string from his own 
town, Velikie Lugi; but who had ever heard of a 
Jewish bourgeois or speculator being arrested ? For 
instance, in his own town there was Hirschmann, a 
millionaire miller and bread merchant, and all his rela- 
tions, manufacturers and merchants, at liberty and 
in full enjoyment of opportunities to speculate. To 
Trotsky he applied a word that has no equivalent in 
English or, as far as I know, any other European 
language. It used to be quite unmentionable in polite 
society; but autres temps, autres inceurs, and since 
the coming of the Bolsheviks " svolotch " is in every- 
one's mouth. One may say that, on the whole, it 
means *' canaille," only much more so. What was 
interesting was that only one of the Comrades was 
against the speaker. The others all noisily approved, 

285 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

while the Jews huddled up at the end of the corridor 
listening, in terror of pogroms to come. 

And so on the tenth day we arrived at Saratov, 
where I learnt that on the morning we started from 
Kozlov the storm had burst out again with renewed 
vigour and, changing its direction, had followed our 
train along the Penza line, cutting communication 
behind us on that route, too. Ours was the only train 
to get through, and for another four days no train 
moved on the Moscow-Saratov railway. Six trains 
were stranded between Kozlov and Tambov, four were 
held up at Moscow, at Kozlov itself not less than five ; 
and there were places on the line where railway coaches 
were buried altogether. The situation resulting from 
the storm was a monumental instance of the inefficiency 
of the Bolsheviks, who can bully and blaspheme, but 
are incapable of honest effort themselves or of getting 
it out of others. Only he who knows the reality, and 
has seen the reverse of the medal, can gauge the 
hideous falseness of the Bolsheviks* pretensions; for 
indeed, without seeing, it is hard to understand how 
every delicate and generous feeling can wither, every 
incentive be given to deceit, intrigue, and corruption, 
and the most ordinary comforts and decencies of 
civilised human life crumble and vanish under the 
heavy hand of malice, ignorance, and brutal force. 



286 



CHAPTER IX 

MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 

On a bitter night of the coldest day of the winter, 
when the famous " Baptism frost " held Petrograd in 
its grip, a voice that gave no name spoke to me on 
the telephone. '' We expect you to lunch to-morrow 
at one." Now, invitations to lunch in Russia were 
almost as rare in January, 1919, as the blue bird, and 
had one hearing this invitation seen me sally forth to 
keep it on the following day he would have thought 
the luncheon party a strange one indeed ; for it took 
me out of the centre of the town and across the frozen 
Neva right to the Finland Station, with a bag in my 
hand and a ticket to the wayside halting place of N. 
slipped into my pocket by a friend. My host was in 
the train, too, but he did not look at me, nor I at him, 
and when we reached our destination he jumped out 
and started along the hard snow track at such a pace 
that with my bag I had difficulty in keeping up at the 
convenient distance behind him at which I had started. 
It was then that I had the first shock. Less than a 
hundred yards from the station I was caught up by a 

237 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

passenger who had sat opposite me in the train and 
had, I thought, watched me more closely than was 
comfortable. She was rather commonly dressed, but 
unmistakably a lady, and had all the way questioned 
the peasants in our coach as to where she could buy 
milk, for which purpose she had a large bottle with her. 
Suddenly she now addressed me in French and asked 
without preface ; " Can you tell me, sir, where it is 
possible to cross the frontier mto Finland ? " I 
answered with all the calm I could muster that I could 
not. "Ah! I thought, that is, I hoped — I can see 
you are a gentleman, and not one of those. . . . Can 
you not help me?" Looked at again, she had the 
face of an enthusiast, impossible that she should be an 
agent provocateur. Nevertheless, the informer so 
flourishes under the reign of terror in " Sovdepia," as 
irreverent Russians beyond its reach term the 
*• Socialist Federative Conciliar Russian Republic," 
and appears at times under so respectable, not to say 
aristocratic, a guise, that I decided against a confi- 
dence, repeated my former answer, and, parting from 
the lady, followed my guide round many corners, 
through a farmyard and into the house, from which he 
was, in fact, to convey me that night across the 
frontier into Finland. 

For the past four months I had been seeking how to 
slip through the Bolshevik nets. When in August, 
1918, the Sovdep Government suddenly arrested the 
British and French representatives, I had managed to 

288 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



get warning in time, and, vanishing from my quarters 
in Moscow some hours before the Red Guards came to 
seek me there, obtained false papers and a temporary 
refuge at a furnished lodging house, in the character 
of a Lettish political emigrant who had spent all his 
life (to which were tacked on a few extra years, to 
save me from the expected mobilisation) in Austria, 
France, and America, and had returned to Russia only 
after the revolution. My foreign accent was then ac- 
counted for, and a good deal of unnecessary sympathy 
was wasted on me as a Lett by people who learned that 
the infamous part played in the history of the revolu- 
tion by the Lettish rifles did not earn my approval. 
From my hiding place I was able to continue my work, 
which consisted in a long-drawn-out liquidation of a 
refugee children's home and the problem of how to keep 
it going in conditions conducive to the children's life 
and welfare, with provisions at fancy prices and every 
conceivable obstruction placed in the way of British 
work, until somebody could be found to take it over. 
My place of abode had occasionally to be changed, 
and I once had a narrow escape of being caught at the 
instance of a German spy who got wind of and de- 
nounced my whereabouts; but even such a seques- 
tered life was far preferable to the certainty of a 
Bolshevik prison and the likelihood of a fate similar 
to that of the French victims in Moscow, who were 
forced to clean the latrines of the Red Guards, and 
some were murdered by semi-starvation and disease. 

239 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Twice, without revealing my address, I made inquiries 
through the proper diplomatic channels as to permis- 
sion to leave the country, only to be told that it was 
impossible. It remained, therefore, to make my exit 
without permission. From the end of November 
onwards, the transfer of the home having been nego- 
tiated, I was able to devote my attention to seeking 
for a way over the Finnish frontier, from the other 
side of which the Germans had by now been forced 
to betake themselves back to the Fatherland. To give 
myself a position, I obtained work as producer at a 
lively young theatre on the Nevsky Prospect, and, in 
fact, did a deal of hard work there. ^ 

From Petrograd the border of Finland is exceedingly 
accessible, being but an hour and a-half by train. In 
the old days it was in much request by political 
offenders fleeing from the vengeance of autocracy ; now 
it offers asylum to those escaping from a worse 
tyranny. On the Russian side of the frontier the 
Finnish peasants, who are a hard-working, orderly 
race, loathe the Socialist regime with its lawlessness 
and organised robbery, and, as they have the reputa- 
tion of honest folk, they are good for would-be fugi- 
tives to deal with. To approach them, however, 
directly would be useless, seeing that in a stranger 
they suspect the informer, and close local knowledge 
is, moreover, required to light on the man who knows 
the frontier paths and has the means of guiding along 
1 [See Chap. VIT, p. 199 above.] 
240 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



them. For this purpose it is, therefore, necessary to 
find an agent who can be relied upon to organise your 
flight, provide guides, horses, map out the route, 
survey it beforehand, and keep abreast of the various 
daily political and military changes that may block one 
path, open up another, or render all paths suspect and 
dangerous for perhaps some days at a time. Such a 
man I had found ; there are believed to be several in 
Petrograd ; they ask very large fees, but their expenses 
are considerable and their business such that they risk 
their heads momently. Mine was young and energetic, 
and was reputed to have piloted many persons from 
barbarism to civilisation. I will call him Ivan 
Petrovich. 

Ivan Petrovich, then, led the way into a clean, well- 
furnished peasant room, where pots of evergreens, 
Bible texts on the walls and mountains of white 
pillows proclaimed its Protestant Finnish proprietor, 
himself a ruddy-faced man of fifty years. An elderly 
lady of Swiss nationality was awaiting us, also a candi- 
date for our night excursion, and we had coffee to- 
gether, cheered by the prospect of escape from the 
Communist inferno, where no man is free and all go 
in daily dread of hunger, arrest, and violent injustice. 
Presently Ivan Petrovich, who had been talking in 
Finnish to our host, came back with a long face. 
"You can't go this way; no, absolutely im- 
possible." 

" Why, what has happened ? " 

241 R 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 



" The party that set out the day before yesterday 
has had to stop." 

*' What, arrested?" 

" No," he answered, " but they have had to stop in 
a village to avoid arrest. We must find a different 
way. We shall have to put off your going for a couple 

of days. I will go to this evening and survey a 

different route, and let you know if you will come to 
my flat to-morrow." 

The little Swiss lady emitted a wail. Could we not 
really go to-night ? She had waited a whole week and 
was chafing at the delay. "No," he said, " I can't 
take the responsibility. Of course, if you wish, you 
can have your deposit back." Which offer, however, 
she refused, perforce accepting the situation. 

Knowing Ivan Petrovich to be a careful man, and 
that he sent his clients by various and roundabout 
roads so as to avoid suspicion, there seemed nothing 
wrong in this. Only some days later, after the catas- 
trophe, I learned the truth that the whole party had 
been nabbed on the frontier itself, with fatal conse- 
quences, and that he concealed this is the only thing 
with which I could reproach my luckless agent. He 
now immediately left for Petrograd. I had given up 
my rooms in the capital and informed their proprietor 
that I was leaving the day previously for Moscow; I 
determined to stay the night in the village, and, there 
being no room in the house where we were, was passed 
on to a friend. This, as it turned out afterwards, 

242 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



saved my life. Here more coffee, which is the Finnish 
national drink, as tea is the Russian, and, considering 
that it was made from rye and had never seen a 
coffee-bean, surprisingly good. Delicious, too, was 
the bread, home baked, with which my simple-minded 
host, a young railway servant, and his intelligent, 
comely wife regaled me. They hated the Bolsheviks 
with all the strength of their souls. *' Tell the 
English to come quickly and save us. Life is becom- 
ing impossible. Everywhere these committees, who 
are nothing but robbers. Even here hunger is begin- 
ning because the peasants dare not bring provisions 
into the village for fear of their being seized by the 
Reds. If free trade were allowed, there would be 
plenty for all." " Yes," added he, " do you know, I 
have always hated the idea of fighting, though I love 
sport and won the second prize in the big foot race at 
Krasnoe Selo before the war ; but if the Whites come I'll 
join them and fight to put down the Reds, whatever 
happens." It is a pathetic link, and indeed the only 
one, between Russian and Finn that no single man of 
decent instincts and education is to be met with, who 
will not put up the same prayer. '' Tell the English — 
tell them everything ! Oh^ why don't they come ? God 
grant they come in time ! " 

Next morning broke with radiant sunshine and a 
temperature risen to zero. The snow, crackling under- 
foot, glistened in a thousand facets ; like a giant fairy 
pantomime, the woods were built of Christmas-trees, 

248 R 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

each branch drooping with its weight of white; it 
seemed truly as though God might be in His Heaven 
and all well with the world. The tram took me quickly 
from the Finland Station to Ivan Petrovich's street, 
and I went upstairs to his fiat in an imprudently gay 
frame of mind. The door opened in answer to my 
ring; I stepped in; ** Hands up ! " and two revolvers 
were at my head. Further explanation was unneces- 
sary. The little drawing-room had been reduced to a 
porridge of torn furniture, ripped cushions, crumpled 
papers, and books ; a young ruffian in sailor's uniform 
was trying on ladies' hats in front of the mirror ; and 
from the bedroom emerged a beetle-browed fellow of 
Jewish countenance in a soldier's blouse and military 
breeches, without boots, having evidently just got up 
from bed. That there had been a perquisition during 
the night was obvious; the inmates had, of course, 
been arrested, and now I was caught, too. Resistance 
was out of the question. A moment of rapid thought, 
while I was being searched for weapons, gave the un- 
comforting result that my course must be to appear as 
unconcerned as possible and try to carry off matters 
with the surprise of an innocent person, much incon- 
venienced by delay and impediment to his affairs. 

Soon we got down to business. 

" Who are you ? " 

" I am an actor — a producer at the G. Theatre. My 
passport and certificate of my professional Union are 
in my pocket-book." The pocket-book and its con- 

244) 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



tents are inspected with, it appears to me, a peculiar 
interest. 

" Why did you want to go to Finland ? " 

" To Finland ? " I echo, with a puzzled air. 

" Yes, you have come here to arrange with Ivan 
Petrovich to take you across the frontier into 
Finland." 

*' What should I want to go to Finland for ? I am 
an actor : my work is here ; and what connection is 
there between Ivan Petrovich and Finland ? " 

" Don't play with us ! I am an agent of the X.C. 
I know all about you. Tell me the truth and it will be 
better for you ; but if you play the fool they have a 
short way at the Gorohovaya with people like you." 
It was the black Jew who was questioning me. The 
X.C, it should be explained, is the Extraordinary 
Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and 
Speculation; it is the chief weapon of the Conciliar 
Government in maintaining and spreading the Red 
reign of terror, and its headquarters are number 2, 
Gorohovaya Street, which is the former Prefecture of 
Police. 

*' I assure you this is a complete surprise to me," I 
answered. '* Whatever the matter is, I am an entire 
stranger to it, and, as for Finland, I know nothing 
about it or about any plans for going there." And I 
managed to drop under the table my return ticket to 
N. on the Finnish railway. 
" Why did you come to see Ivan Petrovich ? " 

245 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Ever since entering the flat I had been wondering 
what answer I could make to this inevitable ques- 
tion; at the crucial moment I had an inspiration. 

" He asked me to bring him a few tins of preserved 
fish. See, there they are." And, in fact, in a little 
sack with me I had, for use on my journey, three 
tins of kilki, a species of fish found and cured at 
Reval, now very difficult to procure in Petrograd. 

*' Where did you get those from ? " 

" I had them by me at home." 

" Where do you live ? " 

I gave my old address, which could in any case 
have been found at the district police office, by means 
of the stamp on my passport. 

'* A perquisition will be made there." 

" By all means," I said, " I have nothing to hide," 
and reflected with satisfaction that all my papers 
and other effects had been cleared out three days 
before. 

" How did you come to know Ivan Petrovich ? " 
was the next question. 

*' He used to come to the theatre where I am 
engaged, and was often behind the scenes." 

" And so he asked you to sell him these kilki ? " 

**Yes." 

*' Why didn't you eat them yourself ? There's not 
so much to eat in Petrograd now, is there ? " 

"I don't like kilki. But, I say, Comrade," for 
we all are '" Comrades " in Petrograd — ** couldn't 

246 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



you let me go now ? You can always find me if you 
want me, at the theatre, or at my address ; you have 
my papers, so that I couldn't run away even if I 
wanted to ; and you see that I am perfectly calm and 
quite open with you. I have a rehearsal at eleven 
o'clock and it doesn't do for the producer to be 
late." 

On this the manner of my inquisitor changed. 
''That's enough," he said; "I know who you are. 
You've been given away — sold. This is a trap we 
laid for you ! You'd better tell the truth of your 
own will, and not wait till we make you. To-morrow 
I shall have Ivan Petrovich, too. He telephoned up 
from the country to say he would only be back 
to-morrow morning. I answered him — he thought it 
was the Red Guard who lodges here speaking, see ? 
Now then." He fished out a small yellow card. It 
was my ticket ! I had been out of the room for a 
moment, of course, with a guard watching me all 
the time, and they had found the ticket during my 
absence. "That?" I said. ''A railway ticket.'' 
"It was among your things." This I knew to be 
untrue, and I could see that they did not quite under- 
stand how the ticket had come to be on the floor, or 
whose it was. Consequently I maintained my total 
ignorance of it. Still, its presence was undoubtedly 
evidence against me. 

*' Do you know one Makarov ? " I was now asked. 

"No." 

247 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

" Whom do you know in Kamenostrovsky Pros- 
pect?" 

"No one." 

" In Kirochnaya Street? " 

"No one." Both answers true. 

" When did you last see Ivan Petrovich? " 

"I really don't remember — a week ago, perhaps." 

A cadaverous sailor with shifty, yet fanatic eyes, 
who had been at the door when I came, thrust his 
face into mine. 

" Look here, we've treated you up to now like a 
comrade. Tell us everything you know and it will 
be better for you " — again ! " But if you want it 
otherwise, just wait till I get you at the Gorohovaya ! 
Don't remember, don't you ? After I've had you 
there for a few hours I'll make you remember what 
you had to eat last year, day by day ! And when, 
after that, you've sat in the Troubetskoy bastion for 
four or five months, your best friend won't know 
you ! " 

" I can't say more than I have said. I know 
nothing about this business." 

"Well, then, to the Gorohovaya with him," said 
the Jew. "Telephone for an automobile." 

The sailor rang up vehemently. "Hi, miss, extra 
call ! 27 ! X. C. speaking. 27— extra ! ... Is that 

X. C. ? Send a car and a guard at once to 

Street to fetch a prisoner. Hurry ! " 

I sat silent waiting for the motor, while my captors 

248 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



had tea and selected the best items of Ivan Petro- 
vich's warbrobe to carry off for their subsequent use, 
with much elegant mockery of the " bourgeois." 

It was of importance for me to put off admitting 
my identity so as not to compromise the chairman of 
the Red Cross Committee I had represented for three 
and a half years who was due to leave for Finland, 
with a properly vise passport, on this very day. If 
I was placed beyond question before three o'clock a 
telephone order to Beloostrov would shut the gate. 
If I could tide over the intervening hours the traveller 
would be out of their clutches. After that, further 
attempt at deception would be fruitless. 

The threat of torture was no idle one. In all the 
prisons, but especially at the Gorohovaya and in the 
fortress of Peter and Paul, the conditions in which 
prisoners are kept amount to torture. Thirty people 
or more may be crowded into a cell some twelve by 
sixteen feet, and there are cases where as many as 
two hundred have been herded within a space of not 
more than twenty-four by twenty feet. In one cell, 
sixteen feet by three, ten men were confined. Often 
there is no furniture at all and the prisoners have to 
lie or sit on a floor oozing with damp so that pools 
of water lie upon it. Where there is furniture, it 
consists of plank beds, one perhaps to each four or 
five persons, who must take turns to lie down, and 
the beds are alive with vermin. For five or six 
weeks at a time prisoners are unable to wash or for 

249 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

months to change their linen, their bodies often 
becoming covered with sores and lice. In the 
Troubetskoy bastion, the worst place of confinement 
in the fortress, and in some of the cells at the Goro- 
hovaya, the latrines are defective or the pans have 
been broken, and human excrement lies in a spread- 
ing swamp, until the prisoners are allowed to remove 
it. On the evidence of an Englishwoman arrested 
and taken to the prison in Shpalernaya Street, the 
commissar there, a drunken brute named Geller 
(probably a Russian translation of the German 
Heller), under pretence of search, has women publicly 
stripped and subjected to obscene treatment, and 
himself in her presence chose two girls from among 
the prisoners to violate at his leisure. In all the 
prisons disease is rife — typhus, typhoid, and scrofula 
— and medical attendance a farce. The food is ex- 
ecrable and insufficient. About two quarts of soup 
for five people with a quarter of a pound of inferior 
black bread for each, made up the whole food for 
the day in one large cell at the Gorohovaya, and the 
soup was made of fish so rotten that the maggots 
had to be extracted from it before it was eatable. 
In another, for five weeks the same quantity of bread 
alone was served out, with no soup or any other food. 
In the Military Prison for eleven hundred prisoners, 
the soup is made as follows ; forty lb. of rotten salt 
fish ; twenty lb. of uncleaned potatoes with the earth 
on them; and five lb. of lentils. These are placed 

250 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



into a shut boiler and cooked until there remains 
nothing but the taste of rotten fish, salt, and earth. 
Boiling water for tea or tea substitute is served three 
times a day, without sugar, and in practically un- 
limited quantities, so that prisoners, attempting to 
make up for want of food by drinking become distent 
and puffy from the unwarranted strain put upon the 
kidneys and the heart. At the same time, the guards 
take delight in making substantial meals in the 
presence of their starving victims. Food sent in by 
the prisoners' relatives is kept at the fortress till 
completely rotten, and at the Gorohovaya is not 
delivered at all. 

This is bad enough, but there is, moreover, little 
doubt that active torture is resorted to for the pur- 
pose of extracting information. Interrogatories are 
conducted at the revolver's muzzle or with the aid of 
a file of Red Guards, who, on the refusal of the 
prisoner to give the commissar the answer he 
requires, are ordered to fire into the wall above the 
prisoner's head. This is repeated lower and lower 
until the poor wretch's nerves completely give way 
and he sinks fainting to the ground. In some cases 
prisoners have been fired at directly with blank car- 
tridge. In others, the ancient Spanish torture of 
giving salt fish to eat and refusing all drink has been 
adopted. Prisoners refractory to such means of per- 
suasion are sometimes brutally flogged. This seems 
to be the commonest method of forcing confessions, 

251 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

and it is reported that the instrument preferred is a 
heavy strip of india-rubber, since it leaves fewer 
traces on the flesh. The final stage of abomination 
is the employment of the Chinese executioners, since 
it is mostly they who now carry out the fusillades, 
as torturers ; of this, indeed, it is impossible to speak 
with certainty, since the victims of this horror are 
not allowed to live afterwards; but it is confidently 
believed by sane and level-minded prisoners, who 
have heard the shrieks of the tortured coming from 
adjacent cells. 

While, however, I sat in Ivan Petrovich's flat 
waiting for the motor, my mind was busy, not with 
such reflections, but with wondering how I might 
escape. It seemed to me that an opportunity must 
present itself, and I concentrated my faculties to 
seize it when it came. The one fixed point in the 
speculation was that, should indeed the chance come, 
it must be before my hat and coat were taken from 
me, since it is impossible without furs to be on the 
streets with the orlass at 10° above zero. This meant 
that it could only be before I was definitely in cus- 
tody at the Gorohovaya. Thus twenty minutes 
elapsed when another Comrade appeared of more 
decent exterior, with the same hard and hatchet 
look; he had come from the Gorohovaya in a 
'* machine," as it is frequently termed in Russian, 
and was to take me back. While the Jewish chief of 
the perquisition was writing a sketchy report to send 

252 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



to his chief, came another ring at the door. The 
cadaverous sailor and the other of the party, a rather 
jolly-looking soldier, took their places at once with 
pistols ready, and admitted a little middle-aged 
woman. As the same questioning which I had 
experienced began, my new guard and I went down- 
stairs and took our seats in a magnificent Benz 
limousine, which had been brought for my exclusive 
benefit, and was waiting with another man on guard 
in the front seat. Ten minutes more and we rolled 
through the gateway into the courtyard at No. 2 
Gorohovaya, the place of terror and torment. 

The front door of the former prefecture, which 
gives on to the spacious Admiralty Prospect, is now 
entirely shut up, and entrance is only through the 
court and a small side door, so that on getting out of 
the motor-car with my guard our way took us up the 
backstairs and through the kitchen, which is situated 
on the second floor. Thence we emerged on to the 
central staircase, built in the form of a spiral, and 
descended to the first floor, where my guard delivered 
me into a writing-room for my preliminary examina- 
tion. Here a railing ran across the room; behind 
it an official who directed operations and two clerks 
to enter the details in large folios before them. The 
door was guarded by a loutish youth in a high 
astrakhan hat. What struck me at once was the 
similarity of expression on the faces of all the ser- 
vants of the X. C. I had now seen six, and here 

253 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

were five more, and I can say without hesitation that 
such a collection of evil countenances had never 
before been under my eyes. They combined an 
astonishing degree of hardness with a look of bestial 
enjoyment. The debauchery of cruelty was stamped 
on their features. They had every appearance of 
being, what no doubt they were, criminals of long 
standing. They were all young, the oldest, I judged, 
not above thirty years. At the flat where my arrest 
took place I had been searched and all my money 
and papers had been taken from me. Now I was 
searched again, and a gold watch before overlooked 
discovered. I asked for a receipt. 

" Oh, you will get it back," answered the man 
with a leer, " when you are released. Nothing here 
ever goes astray." 

The formal interrogatory over, I was told to sit 
down, and waited for a quarter of an hour. Pre- 
sently the little brute in the astrakhan hat, who had 
gone out, returned and told me to follow him, saying 
to the official behind the railing : '' Comrade Antonov 
has got this case in hand." Now Antonov is reputed 
one of the chief ruffians at the Gorohovaya, and is 
second only to Boky, the successor of Uritsky, and, 
like him, a Jew; thus I knew that the case was con- 
sidered of some importance. The little brute and I 
then went downstairs and on the first floor diverged 
from the main staircase into a corridor where the 
rooms were numbered from 82 to 36 ; this, as I learnt 

254 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 

afterwards, is the section for dealing with the 
Counter-Re volution, and Room 86 Antonov's office. 
Here I was sat down on a bench in the passage and 
remained for perhaps two minutes, when the door 
from the staircase opened and another half-fledged 
gaolbird ushered in three more prisoners. Two were 
known to me : the wife of Ivan Petrovich and his 
friend and partner. The third was a lad in his ser- 
vice. Our two guides began to joke together, and 
we snatched the moment to get abreast of the 
situation. 

"Do we know one another?" Ivan Petrovich 's 
friend whispered. 

This gave me my cue. I understood they had not 
been questioned about me, and immediately said in 
a loud voice : " How do you do, Olga Paulovna ? 
What is the meaning of all this ? I went this morning 
to your flat with those tins of fish that your husband 
asked me for, and have been arrested and brought 
here." 

" Oh, I am so sorry. How tiresome for you ! " 

"It's an absolute shame ! They kept on ques- 
tioning me about your husband's affairs and some 
expedition or other to Finland, and about someone 
named Makarov, who I don't know from Adam. As 
if I knew anything about Ivan Petrovich 's business ! 
Why, it was almost by chance that we met at all 
that day you and he, and this gentleman, too, whose 
name even I don't know, came behind the scenes 

255 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

at the G. Theatre where I was producer three weeks 
ago, wasn't it ? " 

'* Yes, about that, I believe," put in the friend. 

" You were kind enough to invite me once or twice 
to tea, and it was like that last week that your 
husband asked me to sell him these kilki I had. I 
brought them this morning, and this is the result ! " 

By this means we had our story concerted and 
should not trip one another up. 

" Indeed," answered the poor little woman, '' I 
deeply regret that you should be inconvenienced, 
especially as you are so slightly acquainted with my 
husband. I trust you will not be detained for more 
than a day." 

With which pious wish we fell silent, all doubtless 
conscious of its vanity. Olga Paulo vna and her 
friend were the picture of fright. They had every 
reason indeed to fear. From the addresses in posses- 
sion of the X. C. agents it was clear that they were 
on the track of a considerable organisation, and 
would surely not give over until they had landed all 
the principal fish. Ivan Petrovich had been so 
imprudent as to keep by him letters received from 
those he had dispatched in safety to Finland, letters 
of which he had read me some extracts, pathetic in 
their gratitude and simplicity. " We are sitting in 
a real restaurant in a real hotel, having coffee with 
cream, and white bread and butter ! How can we 
thank you ? " " There are shops here where every- 

256 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



thing can be bought, and one can buy without cards, 
and there are no red flags." "This is like heaven 
after Sovdepia ! " By themselves these letters were 
enough to destroy him, Olga Paulo vna asked under 
her breath if I knew where he was. I told her what 
I had heard at the flat, and her drawn face blanched 
yet more. It seemed clear that her husband must be 
caught next day at home or on the railway. He would 
certainly be shot. All that she and their friend 
could look forward to was an imprisonment of several 
months in filth and every circumstance of horror, at 
the end of which he would probably, and she pos- 
sibly, be shot too. A glance, moreover, at their lad, 
whose bravado could not control his trembling limbs, 
told that under the first pressure he would give every- 
one and everything away. 

My lumpish ruffian had now left us alone with his 
comrade, and though I have every reason to be 
grateful for this oversight, it would delight me to 
think that he was severely punished for it. Soon 
the passage door opened again and another official 
looked in. 

" Prisoners, follow me," he said, and went out on 
to the staircase, followed by Olga Paulovna, her 
friend, their guard, and the lad. I was sitting at the 
end of the bench, and got up last. As they passed 
out I saw that the moment for which I had watched 
had come. Olga Paulovna 's guard did not know and 
was not responsible for me, since they had come 

257 s 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

from a different room; nor did this new official know 
me, though I was doubtless on the paper in his hand, 
and he would rely upon the guards to see that all the 
prisoners went with him. My moment, the only 
possible moment, had come, and I determined to 
avail myself of it. 

For a beginning I sat down again on the bench 
and stayed for half a minute or so. Then I lounged 
up, as if bored with waiting, and strolled through the 
door on to the staircase. Several persons passed me, 
but took no notice. Up or down ? was the question. 
I decided, down. The staircase must probably lead 
to a door giving access to the cpurt. Down I went. 
And a door, sure enough, was there, but on the 
further side of a guard-room, where a number of 
Reds were resting in the midst, as I could see through 
a glass panel, of stacked rifles and several machine- 
guns. This way, I decided, was too risky. I turned, 
retraced my steps upstairs, past the first-floor 
landing, and up to the second. There, recognising 
the way by which my guard had brought me into the 
building, I passed through a gallery and found 
myself in the kitchen. A number of cooks and other 
servants were busily preparing dinner on a large 
scale. Two men going in the opposite direction 
passed me. In my military coat and high fur hat 
and the Cossack-like beard I had grown in the course 
of the last two months, they doubtless took me for 
one going about the ordinary business of the place. 

258 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



So I reached the back door, went down the backstairs 
and was in the court. At the gate was a guard, as 
I had seen on entering, and it is known that the 
sentinels here are chosen from among the most 
thoroughgoing Communists, of which indeed they 
have the air, being dirty, slatternly, and of a gener- 
ally debased appearance; as I crossed the court, I 
saw that there were five of them. Only one danger 
now between me and freedom, but a grave one : I 
had no pass, and to get out of any Bolshevik institu- 
tion, even one of such inoffensiveness as the office of 
the International Sleeping Car Co., a written pass is 
required. Still more from the very centre of the Red 
Terror. No alternative, however, existed; I must 
risk it. Now in the course of pilgrimages to various 
commissaries I had noticed that, although in theory 
a pass is required for everyone, in practice it is not 
always insisted on, and my choice was made accord- 
ingly. At a fair pace, but taking care not to hurry, 
I approached the gateway. " Pass ? " called out one 
of the guards. Without stopping I answered in an 
absolute manner : " From room No. 36." The phrase 
acted like magic; no one attempted to stop me, and 
without further query I passed under the arch and 
into the street. 

For the moment, at least, I was free. I had been 
conscious all the time of no special emotion, but now 
my forehead began to feel hot and my legs displayed 
a desire to break into a run. Controlling them I 

259 s 2 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

walked quickly along the Admiralty Prospect to a 
tramway station, and took a car up the Nevsky; 
luckily finding about four roubles in stamps in a pocket 
of my great coat, otherwise I should have had to walk. 
The Admiralty clock showed ten minutes to one. It 
was two hours and a-half since I had been caught in 
the trap, and I had been something over an hour at 
the Gorohovaya. My position was one of imminent 
danger. The moment my absence was discovered there 
would be a tremendous hue and ^ry. In the first place 
it appeared to me that the X.C. over-estimated my im- 
portance as a prisoner, and would redouble their 
efforts to have me again ; and in the second, an escape 
from the Gorohovaya is so rare an occurrence that they 
would leave no stone unturned in the search. Two 
months before a prisoner had succeeded in making off, 
and the regulations in the place had been strung up 
to a point of almost unbearable strictness in conse- 
quence. Should I be captured, there was now no 
doubt of my fate ; it would be, in the pithy Russian 
idiom, " to the wall." At the Liteiny Prospect I 
changed into a car for the Finland Station. My idea 
was that the X.C. would at all events at the first 
moment, not expect me to make for the frontier. If I 
could catch the 1.15 train, on which my friends were 
due to leave for Beloostrov, I could get money from 
them and find a guide in the village where I had left 
my bag to cross the frontier the same night. But I 
got to the station ten minutes late. 

260 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



Without money, without passport or other papers, 
without shelter, and easily recognisable from the 
photograph attached to the documents in the hands of 
the X.C., I seemed in a fairly tight corner. Money 
even for trams with the tariff of sixty kopecks, was 
running short, and I was getting uncommonly 
hungry. In these circumstances, it was to a Jewish 
friend that I determined to apply, and he justified my 
choice nobly, fortified me with bread and sausage and 
a substantial loan of money. At another friend's I 
shaved my beard, at yet another's obtained a close- 
fitting round cap of coarse fur that, to a casual glance, 
quite altered the shape of my head. Another problem 
was food. Being without a legal lodging, I lacked 
also a bread card. Well, bread could be bought in 
the street at one of the contraband markets born of 
the Bolshevik policy of creating famine. But besides 
a card for bread it is necessary to have a card in order 
to obtain a meal at one of the '* social dining-rooms," 
since restaurants no longer exist, and at the cabmen's 
tea-houses, the only ones permitted, nothing can be 
obtained to eat ; which, it should be noted, is also part 
of the Bolshevik system of preventing the populace 
from organising their discontent by forcing them to 
think morning, noon, and night of food, and again of 
food, and of nothing but food. This difficulty I cir- 
cumvented, but in a way not to be related, lest trouble 
should befall a benefactor who enabled me, which was 
all-important, to dine without a card. Thus I spent a 

261 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

week of considerable excitement, changing my place of 
abode four times and casting about the while for means 
of escape. Hotels, like restaurants, are things of the 
past ; consequently I had to rely on private hospitality, 
most generously offered, but accepted with the know- 
ledge that my saviours were risking liberty, if not life, 
for me. It was nervous work this, sleeping in the 
passage or on a sofa handy to the backdoor, with one's 
boots beside one, ready to make off at the first alarm. 
Still more trying was the moment when one rang at 
the door coming in, in ignorance would it be opened by 
friend or foe. At the place where I dined I fed with 
my coat on and with my money on the table in case I 
should have to jump for the backdoor. Evidence that 
the hunt for me was hot came in plenty. My old lodg- 
ings, of course, were visited the first night after my 
escape and vainly ransacked. Twice I saw spies watch- 
ing the houses where I had slept, and had to sheer off, 
walking the streets for some hours, no very pleasant 
amusement in mid-winter and on a Petrograd diet. 
Twice the houses where I had slept were searched after 
I had flitted, though each time the actual fiat that was 
my asylum escaped. Once I avoided by a few minutes 
a patrol that was having a general hunt for suspicious 
characters. 

On the third day of this life I got word from George, 
the railway man in the village where I had slept. All 
was quiet, he reported. Nothing suspicious had 
occurred. Let me come next day and he would find 

262 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



a pilot for me. Overjoyed at the news, I went, and 
arrived in safety. Sure enough, nothing suspicious on 
the road or at the httle station ; no one seemed to be 
watching the neighbourhood. But when I entered the 
house, George's wife, who had a visitor, started on 
seeing me and put her finger to her Ups. Presently 
she came to me in the inner room and breathed that a 
descent had been made on the house of Ivan Petro- 
vich's chief agent. The Red Guards had burst in at 
five o'clock in the morning, arrested everybody, in- 
cluding the little Swiss lady, smashed, torn to ribbons, 
and carried off everything, ripping up the pillows and 
mattresses, and strewing their contents on the floor 
in the fury of their search. One of them had been left 
in possession ; so that, had I on my first visit slept in 
this house and now gone back there, I should have 
been caught to a certainty, A black-haired man — 
doubtless the Jew who had been in command at the 
fiat— had said in the hearing of an old woman, the 
only one out of the nine in the house to be left, that 
those caught the week before were done for, and that 
he had cooked Ivan Petrovich's goose. She and her 
husband had been through a hell of suspense lest the 
Reds should come to them, too, but so far they had 
not. Now the visitor left and George came in, but 
only to tell bad news. The Reds had been to yet two 
more houses, made more arrests, and had been heard 
to say that they would return next night and not rest 
till they had cleared out everybody in the place con- 

263 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

nected with Ivan Petrovich's chief man. To me it 
seemed hkely that the first house on their list would be 
that of George. A rapid retreat was now my only 
course; but perhaps it could be made northwards — 
into Finland ? George's wife volunteered to find the 
man who he had meant me to go with, ]iad all been 
well, for George's own nerves were too jumpy to make 
him a useful ambassador; but she came back saying 
that the other was far too much alarmed to touch the 
business and the whole village in a state of panic. 
There was no help for it, and so soon as it was dark I 
sallied forth, George taking my bag on a minute hand- 
sledge to the station. His relief when the train drew 
in, and he could be sure that I should no longer en- 
danger him and his, was delightful, and we arranged 
that he should come up to Petrograd on the next day 
but one to give me news. Seeing that to have helped 
me over the frontier would have been a very profitable 
business for him, when he did not keep the appoint- 
ment I felt sure that he had been arrested. 

In the course of these alarums and excursions ample 
leisure was afforded me to reflect on the causes of the 
catastrophe. During my work in the theatre, which 
had enabled me to live for two months as normal a 
life as could be lived nowadays in Petrograd, there 
were several persons who knew or suspected that I 
was an Englishman, but even if they thought it their 
business to wonder they could not have known 
under what documents I was living. Russians are 

264 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



accustomed to many official fictions. Besides, they 
would almost surely think that I had regulated my 
position with the Bolshevik Government and was living 
openly and registered, as foreigners were bound to do. 
Only four persons in Petrograd were acquainted with 
my precise situation, knew my name and the name 
and character inscribed on my passport and profes- 
sional documents ; and of three I was absolutely sure. 
There was also one in Moscow who had got me my 
passport, and for his own sake he must keep silent. 
But he told the fourth of these four, the mother of a 
young author who had before been my assistant, that 
the Moscow representatives of our Red Cross Com- 
mittee had been denounced and one arrested as agents 
of a British conspiracy, and she, in fear for what might 
happen to her son, asked counsel of an acquaintance 
in such a way that he guessed the truth. This man, 
L., a former opera singer and now a theatrical im- 
presario with whom I was in business relations, has 
the appearance and manners of a thorough gentleman ; 
a Pole and member of the Polish Committee, he speaks 
several languages, and is an educated and travelled 
man of good capacity. He it was who had now de- 
nounced me. I was led to this conclusion by evidence 
from several sides, and once formed it was afterwards 
confbmed in a striking manner. Having, in the first 
place, got his clue as to my nationality, he learned 
from the same source that I intended to leave the 
country. He next made the acquaintance of Ivan 

265 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

Petrovich through the person who had recommended 
me to him, on pretence that he also was desirous of 
being transported out of Bolshevik-land. He was thus 
in a position to gauge with fair accuracy when my 
move was to be made. I had in fact expected to go 
with a party two days earlier, and it seems probable 
that L. insinuated someone into this company who 
betrayed it on the frontier, in the expectation that I 
would be among it also. Three facts serve to bring 
the crime home to him. First, three days before my 
attempt, he wrote, underlining the words, to the chair- 
man of my committee, that " he wished Ivan Fedoro^ 
vich " (my Russian name and patronymic) '' to have a 
good journey,'^ and followed up his letter on the next 
day by a barefaced attempt at blackmail. Secondly, 
the moment I had slipped through the net, he launched 
a denunciation against my chief, who had, fortunately, 
without L.'s knowing, alreaHy received all the neces- 
sary papers for leaving by the legal road, and, on the 
revelation of the blackmailer's game, moved swiftly 
to another flat. 

And on the very next day the machinery of the 
Gorohovaya was put in motion to effect the arrest, but 
vainly, the bird having flown. Thirdly, I having 
escaped from prison and L. having thus lost his other 
quarry, he moved heaven and earth, as was reported 
to me by a friend who was able to watch him, to have 
my whereabouts discovered and myself caged again. 
The agents at Ivan Petrovich's flat had evidently ex- 

266 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



pected me, and said as much, though they did not 
know who I was and were puzzled by the apparent 
excellence of my papers. But the crowning proof of 
L.'s treachery came when I was already in safety in 
Finland. On my mentioning his name to an Allied 
secret service man, the latter astonished me by saying 
that he knew about L. already, that he was believed 
himself to have crossed the frontier and back several 
times, and was suspected of being an agent provo- 
cateur. Two days later a young Russian officer who 
had been in the employment of the Bolsheviks, as 
many are to serve their own ends, and had by error 
been released from the prison where he was immured 
on discovery of his helping brother officers to escape 
beyond the Bolshevik lines, broke through to Finland. 
He knew L.'s name well, he said. It was on a list he 
had had in his possession of agents on the Staff at Goro- 
hovaya, who get a salary and ten per cent, on the 
property of the victims they denounce, and have some- 
times names that used to move in the best Petrograd 
society. For all his delicacy and culture and reiterated 
horror of the Bolsheviks, L. was neither more nor less 
than a professional informer. 

To obtain a reward for my capture, the importance 
of which he doubtless exaggerated, to whet the appe- 
tite of his paymasters, he did not scruple to have a 
score of people, guilty only of wishing themselves, or 
of helping others, to escape from tyranny to freedom, 
thrown into noisome prisons, and between five and 

267 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

ten of them in all probability shot. Such a pitch of 
revolting callousness and baseness, read of but hardly 
realised as a product of despotism in the worst pages 
of Roman history, has the Bolshevik terror produced 
in Russia. 

'' Go to Madame R.," a friend had said, '' if you are 
in such a hole. She is a wonderful woman, an enthu- 
siast, and I am sure she can help you." To the 
address given me, therefore, I went. Madame R. 
welcomed me warmly. '* I knew you the moment I 
saw you in the train," she said to my surprise, '* in 
spite of your beard. I often used to see you at the 
meetings of the Society of the Year 1914." This 
Society of the Year 1914 was founded at the beginning 
of the war to fight against German influence, and in 
1916 numbered some eight thousand members. 
Besides Russians, it had on its books a few French, 
English, and Serbians, who realised that the Allies' 
chance in Russia depended on their winning the sym- 
pathy of the liberal elements in society and helping 
these in the struggle with the reactionary and pro- 
German Court. Madame R., the daughter of a well- 
known General, had been prominent at meetings of the 
society both before the revolution and after it in 
helping to defeat the plans of a venal secretary who 
attempted to capture the organisation for the Bol- 
sheviks. As I looked at her now, I saw that she was 
the woman who had accosted me the first day I went to 
N. *' Yes," she said, in answer to my question, "I 

268 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



felt sure you were making for the frontier, and I 
wanted so much to help you if I could. But what an 
escape you have had ! If they catch you they will 
never let you go alive. We must manage to get you 
off. I have helped several people. But it is very diffi- 
cult now. Two of my parties have had to return. 
One, a relation of mine and his v/ife, were within two 
versts of the frontier when their driver got frightened 
and refused to go further. They tried to walk, but the 
snow was too deep and they are elderly people and had 
to turn back. Now I am trying to find another way 
for them. People must be saved from this abominable 
life when they can; it is not life, but death in life." 
'' And the other party ? " " Oh, that was still more 
dreadful ! They are a young officer and his sister. 
They had actually crossed the frontier and the Finns 
sent them back from the village they reached. They 
managed to telephone from there to the Commandant 
at Terioki, but he confirmed the orders that they were 
to be turned away. Numbers of our poor refugees 
have been refused asylum like that. Isn't it mon- 
strous of the Finns ? In many cases it is sheer murder, 
as those forced to return by daytime are caught and 
shot by the Reds. How my two got through, they 
hardly know themselves; they were fired at crossing 
the river and in the woods, and had to bury their bags 
in the snow, and finally got back half dead with ex- 
haustion." It was arranged that I should return next 
day to confer with a peasant woman expected to come 

269 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

up to Petrograd and report. Like my George, how- 
ever, she did not appear. News came that the 
frontier was all alive with guards, and that six hundred 
roubles blood-money was offered for each fugitive 
caught alive or dead. Prospects began to look poor, 
and at least it seemed clear that a week or so must 
pass before a plan could be hit upon, which in my 
hunted condition and with no papers other than a 
forged extract from a house register, whereby I 
assumed the role of a Roumanian chauffeur, hardly 
good for a minute's inspection should I be stopped, was 
far from comforting. 

But now unexpectedly hope dawned in another 
quarter. "I have heard," said the elderly relative 
afore-mentioned, " that another way exists — across the 
sea, by sledge over the ice. There are smugglers who 
bring butter and sweets from Finland, and I am in 
touch with a man who may induce them to take us 
back with them. If you care to join us, come at five 
o'clock on Friday to arrange terms with the man. He 
proposes to go on Saturday." Friends whom I con- 
sulted were sceptical. From Sestiroretzk, the last 
point on the Gulf of Finland this side the frontier, it 
was known that parties had been driven across ; but I 
could not hope to reach Sestroretzk, owing to the strict 
control of passports on the railway line thither. By 
sea from Petrograd to Terioki must be hard on seventy 
versts, a long night's drive, to say nothing of diffi- 
culties of the ice. Red patrols, and the forts of 

270 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



Cronstadt to circumvent. On an ice-boat it could 
certainly be done ; but inquiry showed that ice-boats 
were not procurable. Yet no chance could be let slip, 
and at five punctually I was at Madame R.'s back 
door. I was greeted with — " We leave here at seven 
this evening! Can you come?" ''I will be back 
before seven." A hurried dash for my lodging; and 
here I convinced myself that means of escape had not 
come a moment too soon, for in the courtyard lounged 
a hulking fellow of semi-soldierly cut and scowling 
looks evidently on the watch. True, he may not have 
been on the watch for me, but the chances seemed in 
favour of the theory. I decided not to risk taking my 
suitcase, an English-looking leather article, as being 
too conspicuous in the circumstances, so, making a 
hasty meal, I flung a few clothes, a rug, my diary and 
most valuable papers, the remains of a brandy flask, 
into a sack of totally disreputable appearance, and 
stumped forth with it over my shoulder, and with cap 
well pulled down, a typical " sackman," one of those 
who come in from the country of an evening and sell 
butter, bread, or potatoes at prices that soon make 
them millionaires. In this guise my spy did not even 
look at me. 

It was a wonderful starlight night, but warm, with 
the glass at about 20° Fahrenheit, and as I drove 
from Madame R.'s with the young man who had 
engineered our expedition to its starting-point on the 
Islands, Petrograd had never looked more beautiful. 

271 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

We passed the deserted shell of the British Embassy 
where Cromie had met his symbolic death, and across 
the white belt of the great river, our izvozhchik 
cursing the Bolsheviks freely. Tranquil elation 
possessed me. We were free from pursuit, and but 
for an accident or a denunciation from some fresh 
quarter would soon be clear. At the worst there 
would be an end to uncertainty. I only regretted 
that I had sent away my pistol (sewn up in a cushion) 
by the legal exit, when being still with lawful papers 
it was dangerous for me to be found with arms ; the 
more to be regretted, since it afterwards turned out 
that the Bolsheviks had found and confiscated it. 
Almost at the extreme point of one of the Islands 
we stopped, and entered a dark house, the resort of 
the Finnish smugglers. Five or six of them were in 
the kitchen, bold-looking fellows, all, with the excep- 
tion of the master of the house, very young. One 
had been in the employ of a British wood merchant 
and became voluble in a mixture of equally broken 
English and Russian on learning my nationality. In 
the little parlour were two Jews, one well known in 
his own town as a patriot and having had a large 
price set on his head by the Bolsheviks, the other 
fleeing, as I guessed, for some affair of speculation; 
these, with my two elderly acquaintances and myself, 
made up our party. A long wait now ensued. It 
was not ten o'clock, and the guides had chosen half- 
past eleven as the best hour for the start, timing it 

272 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



so that we should pass the forts of Cronstadt at 
between three and four in the morning, according to 
them the hour most likely to escape observation. The 
delay was beguiled by a samovar of majestic propor- 
tions, at an equally majestic price; for its owner, 
under pretence of fear for his skin through our pre- 
sence, rooked us of fifty roubles a head, reflecting 
maybe that as our money might fall into the hands 
of a Red patrol, the more of it that found its way to 
his pocket before that sad occurrence the better. At 
length, and having paid our toll beforehand, we were 
summoned; and emerging from the blackness of the 
unlit hall stumbled into two rough country sledges 
that had been brought up to the door. The loads 
were fairly heavy; in one three passengers, in the 
other two with the luggage, and in each two Finns 
who took it by turns to drive. In any other circum- 
stances my position would have seemed one of ex- 
treme discomfort, for I had half to lie, half to recline 
on the bottom of the sledge with my back to the horse, 
so that every jolt of the vehicle over the rough ice 
sent a jar from the top of my spine to the bottom; 
but my spiritual content was such that I hardly 
noticed physical annoyances. On the ice it was much 
colder than in the town, though still for the time of 
year comparatively warm, and the first three hours' 
travelling with the glass a few degrees above zero 
(Fahr.) made usual heavy Russian winter clothing 
feel like a zephyr. Much of the time^the Finns ran 

278 T 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

alongside, padding the ice with quick springy steps 
on their toes, that enabled them not to slip back- 
ward, as invariably happened to me when I tried to 
run for the sake of warmth. It was hard to know 
whether most to admire their endurance or that of 
their little horses, which went for eight hours without 
a break, very seldom stopping for a consultation 
between their masters as to the route, and at the end 
took their loads uphill into the town of Terioki at a 
fast trot. Our course lay in a wide curve away from 
the shore; as the lights of the delicate line of 
Oranienbaum scintillated in the western distance, and 
Cronstadt rose, a crown of glowing amber, in the 
centre of the snow-besprinkled blackness of the ice, 
on our left bow. 

Suddenly I awoke; I had dozed; the stars were 
out, Cronstadt vanished, and a whitey wall of mist 
stretched over heaven and horizon. How without 
compass the Finns could find their way through this 
was hard to conceive; but they seemed to have the 
instinct of foxes and scarcely faltered. The only two 
serious checks were once to find a causeway across 
a weak spot where an icebreaker had not long before 
hacked her path through, and again on an alarm of 
a Red patrol. My less acute senses detected nothing, 
but suddenly the driver pulled up, and signalling to 
his follower sat for a moment of the tensest silence, 
then dashed off in another direction at top speed. 
That there was cause for alarm was certain ; and only 

274 



MY EXIT FROM RUSSIA 



two nights afterwards a party of four coming the 
same way were set upon and killed, including the one 
lady among them, by Red Guards or by Bolshevik 
marauders on their own. The last hour, as we neared 
the shore, was fitted with a strange illusion of endless 
galleries and stately marble columns; I thought it 
had been a dream, but afterwards learnt that three 
out of my four companions had experienced the 
same; leaving no doubt that we were victims of a 
kind of nocturnal mirage. At last with a bump and 
a heave we rose from the ice and plunged over the 
frozen, snowy dunes. Fifteen minutes more, and 
we were knocking up a young farmer and his wife, 
who gave us unlimited coffee — with milk ! — and 
bread, and butter, such luxuries as are not to be 
found in all Petrograd, no, nor in any town in Russia 
where the Bolshevik screw is at work, crushing out 
the life of the land. And all for ten roubles a head. 
The simple meal seemed a symbol of our re-won 
liberty, simple enough when it is with you every day, 
but, when you are deprived of it, a feast beyond 
price. Only those who have lived under the cease- 
less, killing strain of the Bolshevik tyranny; who 
have seen peasants selling their supplies shudder and 
blanch at the approach of a stranger; who have 
known the fear for friends and relatives arrested and 
within an ace of death; who have seen old people 
starved, beauty despoiled, the ignorant and vicious 
lording it in heaven's despite; and have felt the 

275 



THE BOLSHEVIK ADVENTURE 

daily, cramping necessity to wonder night and day 
whether they will have food enough next week, next 
day, next hour — only these, meeting afterwards in 
freedom, can taste in its full flavour the rich joy to 
be free, and can pray with understanding hearts that 
condign punishment may be meted out to the mur- 
derers and robbers who have hired themselves to be 
the agents of German intrigue and usurped the name 
and the powers of the people of Russia. 



THE END 



INDEX 

[Mainly of Proper Names.] 



American Mission to Riissia, xv 
American Red Cross, work of, in 

Russia, xvi 
Andreev, Leonid, 142 
Army, Bolshevik, 145 
— officers, 146 



Finland, Bolshevik propaganda 

in, 93, 144 
Food conditions in Petrograd, 

156 sqq. 
— , prices of, 158 sqq. 
France, support of Ukraine by, 

98 



Bank Notes, Bolshevik printing 

of, 143 
" Bolshevik," 1 



G 



German connection with Bol- 
shevism, 32, 80, 93, 144 

Gorky, Maxim, 97, 141 

Gorohovaya, prison, 139, 246, 
249, 260 



Chaliapine, 78 

Chinese, employment of, by 
Bolsheviks, 104, 153, 262 

Conmaissars, xxiii, 28 

— , powers of, 118 

Communism, 100 sqq. 

*' Council . of People's Com- 
missars," xxiii, 117 

Cronstadt, 149 



Dybenko (Naval Commissar), 
209 



Jews in Bolshevik Camp, xx, 
104 



"Kerenkies," 113, 143, 173 
Kerensky, 39, 43, 88 
Kiev, 84, 95 

Komilov, General, 44, 87 
Kozlov, junction, 214 
Kremlin, the, 42, 67 



Bolshevik Adventxtrb 



277 



INDEX 



Land, problem of, in Russia, 

111 
Left Social Revolutionaries, 

101, 152 
Lenin, 45, 141, 148, 192 
Lettish Rifles, 88, 104 
Lvov, Prince, 88 



Mazeppists, 85 

Meta, 216 

Mirbach, Count, assassination of, 

65, 101 
Moscow, damage to city, 42 
— , banking in, 73 
— , price of food in, 184 
Muraviev, 58, 103 



Protopopov (Ex-Minister of In- 
terior), xii 

Pskov, German treachery at, 
125 

Putilov Works, 151 



R 



Radek on " red terror," 119 
Railways under Bolshevik man- 
agement, 71, 136, 157, 20S sqq. 
Red Cross, organisation broken 

up, xvi, 80 
— , American, xvi 
Reerich, Constantine, 142 
Russell, Edward, xv 



S 



N 



Navy, Bolshevik, 148 
Nicolas II., murder of, 68 
" Northern Commune " of Petro- 
grad, 117, 138, 154 



Saratov, town of, 186 
— , conditions in, 135 
" Sovieti," xxii. 
Soviets, election to, 117 
Stolypin (Minister), 82, 111 
Szepticki, Count Andr6, 96 



Petrograd, food conditions in, 

166 sqq. 
— , fuel, shortage of, 178, 179 

— Press, fines levied on, 70 
— , sickness in, 134 

— streets, attempt to change 

names of, 129 

— theatres, 140, 198 sqq. 
Prison, military, diet in, 250 
Prisons, Bolshevik, 67, 139, 245, 

249, 260 



Terioki, 270, 274 

Theatres under Bolshevik rule, 

140, 197 sqq. 
Trotsky, 49, 61, 68, 102, 121, 

146 



U 

Ukraine, position of, 82 sqq. 
— , French support of, 98 



278 



INDEX 



Ukrainian language, 83, 86 X 

Uritsky, asseissination of, 119 

120 **X.C." (Extraordinary Com- 

mission for Combating Coun- 
ter-revolution), 245 



Voronesh, x. Y 

Voznessensky (of Bolshevik 

Foreign Office), 130 Yaroslavl, rising at, 81, 104 



W 

„^ , , ^ , , „„ Zinoviev (President of Petrograd 

Walden, Colonel, 39 Council), 31, 141, 151 



279 



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